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Driver in Glasgow bin lorry tragedy suspended from work

Published 06/08/2015

Six people died in the tragedy
Six people died in the tragedy

The driver of a bin lorry that crashed killing six people in Glasgow city centre has been suspended from work.

Glasgow City Council said it has suspended Harry Clarke "on a precautionary basis" ahead of a full investigation.

It comes after a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) that is taking place into the tragedy was told that Mr Clarke did not disclose his medical history when completing a health questionnaire when he applied to work for the council.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: "The Council can confirm that it has suspended Mr Harry Clarke on a precautionary basis pending a full disciplinary investigation.

"A number of allegations have been made during the enquiry in regard to Mr Clarke's conduct before and at the point where he commenced employment with the Council. These allegations have yet to be put to Mr Clarke and he has not yet had the opportunity of responding to them. The internal investigation will therefore take place at the conclusion of the FAI."

The inquiry, which is being held at Glasgow Sheriff Court, has heard that the driver has a history of health issues including fainting, dizziness and stress dating back to the 1970s.

Mr Clarke, 58, had appeared to lose consciousness when the council bin lorry went out of control three days before Christmas in Glasgow city centre last year.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, were struck and killed by the lorry on December 22.

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

Medical records that have been read out at the inquiry documented around 30 instances starting in June 1976 when he had seen a doctor due to issues including dizziness, vertigo, anxiety and nervousness.

There were also two cases of "vasovagal" recorded, one in 1989 when Mr Clarke worked for Tennent Caledonian Breweries and another in 2010 when he worked for First Bus, the inquiry heard.

The inquiry previously heard from witnesses that Mr Clarke had suffered a "blackout" at the wheel of a bus in April 2010 while he worked with First Bus, but a doctor's note shown to the witness today read that Mr Clarke said he had lost consciousness for five seconds in his work canteen rather than on a bus.

Geraldine Ham, a human resources manager at the council, said in evidence last week that the authority was not made aware of any health conditions during Mr Clarke's recruitment.

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