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Lorry crash probe chief knew victim

Published 29/05/2015

Six people were killed in Glasgow in December by an out-of-control bin lorry
Six people were killed in Glasgow in December by an out-of-control bin lorry

The sheriff overseeing the inquiry into the Glasgow bin lorry crash which killed six people has withdrawn after realising he knew one of the victims.

Sheriff Principal Craig Scott, who has presided over two hearings ahead of the beginning of the inquiry on July 22, will be replaced by John Beckett QC.

The Judiciary of Scotland said the link between the sheriff and one of the dead was not initially clear because of the way the victim was named in the original application to the court.

It said in a statement: "On March 19 it was announced that the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) relating to the road traffic incident which resulted in the deaths of six people and a number of persons injured in Glasgow city centre on December 22 2014 was to be conducted by Sheriff Principal Craig AL Scott QC at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

"Sheriff Principal Scott has since become aware that he was acquainted with one of the deceased and is known to the deceased's family.

"This was not initially apparent due to the manner in which the deceased was designed in the original application to the court.

"In the circumstances, Sheriff Principal Scott has taken the immediate decision to recuse himself from the inquiry and has appointed Sheriff John Beckett QC to replace him."

The FAI is to look at the bin lorry driver's medical background and his fitness to hold a licence, and will also consider the technical aspects of the vehicle itself and whether it was appropriate for it to take the route it did through Glasgow city centre just before Christmas.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents, Jack Sweeney, 68, and his 69-year-old wife Lorraine, all from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, died when the truck lost control in Queen Street.

Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed when the vehicle mounted the pavement before crashing into the side of the Millennium Hotel in George Square.

The next preliminary hearing will take place on June 18 with Sheriff Beckett at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

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