Glasgow Bin Lorry Crash CCTV Shown

22 July 2015, 17:16

George Square bin lorry crash

The families of the victims were not present as the footage was played on the first day of an inquiry into the accident which saw the council refuse truck veer out of control on to a packed street three days before Christmas.

The inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court started with a minute's silence to remember the victims.

Sheriff John Beckett offered his condolences to family members and said: "I can only imagine the shock, pain and anguish which you have suffered following your sudden and terrible loss.

"I extend my sympathy also to all of those who were injured and traumatised.''

Family members listened to an account of the bin lorry's journey from Queen Street to George Square, where it crashed into the side of a hotel.

Pedestrians attempted to flee the path of the vehicle and one couple threw a buggy containing their three-year-old granddaughter on to the road to avoid being struck.

Evidence read to court said many members of the public reported seeing driver Harry Clarke "unconscious'' and "slumped forward'', his hands on the steering wheel.

There was nothing to suggest the incident was a deliberate act and the condition of the truck, road surface and visibility were not factors in the crash, the inquiry heard.

As CCTV footage was prepared, Mr Beckett said the families did not need to be present and they did not return to the court following a short adjournment.

The Queen Street footage showed the bin lorry mount the busy pavement packed with shoppers and skim a wall before it returned to the road where it collided with cars.

It showed other pedestrians rushing to help those who had been injured seconds after the crash.

The families returned to court to hear from first witness Matthew Telford, who was part of a three-man crew working on the bin lorry on December 22.

The 46-year-old said he had worked on council bin lorries for seven years, and with Mr Clarke for three.

Asked what he knew of Mr Clarke's health, Mr Telford said he had had an operation on his hands but had no other issues that he knew of.

Solicitor General Lesley Thomson, who is leading the inquiry, asked the witness if there was anything out of the ordinary on December 22, other than the crash.

Mr Telford said: "Not that I can recall. We were in quite a joyful mood because it was Christmas. We were talking about Christmas and about football. It was just an ordinary day.''

He said he had received no training in what to do if someone became unwell in the lorry but that procedures have since changed, with crews given daily risk assessment sheets each morning.

The Crown Office ordered a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the crash after prosecutors ruled there was no evidence to warrant criminal proceedings.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, died in the accident on December 22.

Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed.

The court heard that all the victims died from "multiple injuries, the pattern of which was consistent with being struck by a large, heavy vehicle''.

The inquiry is expected to look at Mr Clarke's medical background, his fitness to hold a licence and his employment record and training.

It will also examine whether anything could have been done to halt the lorry and explore the route it took.

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