Glasgow bin lorry crash: Probe into driver health

THE medical background of driver of the bin lorry that ploughed into Christmas shoppers and claimed the lives of six people will be examined at a fatal accident inquiry, a court heard on Monday.

The bin lorry claimed the lives of six people before coming to a stop. Picture: Robert Perry

Solicitor general Lesley Thomson QC represented the Crown at a preliminary hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court into the circumstances of the deaths of those tragically killed on December 22, last year at Queen Street.

Members of the family that tragically lost Jack Sweeney, 68, his wife Lorraine, 69 and their 18-year-old granddaughter Erin McQuade were in court for the hearing.

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Mrs Thomson told sheriff principal Craig Scott - who will be presiding over the inquiry - that there are a number of issues the Crown will address, including the driver of the lorry, Harry Clarke.

Floral tributes left for the victims of the bin lorry crash. Picture: John Devlin

Mrs Thomson said: “In relation to these issues they fall in to three categories” and said the first was “around the driver of the vehicle, his medical background, his fitness to hold a licence”.

She added: “I think that would also encompass his employment record and his training.”

The court was told the second category was “vehicle itself” and technical elements of it.

Mrs Thomson said: “Whether there could have been any measures or intervention in place to have brought that vehicle to a controlled stop.”

The solicitor general also said that the third category was the “safety of the refuse vehicle route”.

The hearing heard that the Crown intends to look at the time of the day, time of the week and of the year of the route undertaken.

Mrs Thomson said it is the Crown’s position that it will be ready to conduct the inquiry on date set down in July.

She told the court: “In relation to the vehicle I have indicated that the Crown will arrange for parties to view the vehicle before the inquiry and also make arrangements to bring the vehicle to a suitable place close to the court during the inquiry.”

The families of Jacqueline Morton, 51, Gillian Ewing, 52, and Stephanie Tait, 29, who tragically lost their lives were also represented in court, as well as Mr Clarke, the DVLA and Glasgow City Council.

The parties said that at the next preliminary hearing they will be in a better position to indicate if they will be prepared in time for the inquiry.

Sheriff principal Scott said the Crown has been “expeditious” in its investigations.

He assigned a further preliminary hearing in May.

Speaking outside the court Paul Kavanagh, representing the family of Mr and Mrs Sweeney and Miss McQuade, said it is “understandable” that the family want to be a part of the inquiry.

He said: “It’s going to be horrendous for them.”

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