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Glasgow bin lorry crash: Driver Harry Clarke asked, what if it was your family?

Man behind the wheel of HGV which killed six and injured 15 refuses to answer questions at inquiry

By Staff Reporter

Glasgow bin lorry driver, Harry Clarke, has been asked to imagine his own family members were killed in the fatal crash as the 58-year-old continues to maintain a vow of silence over the events which led up to the tragedy.

Six people were killed and another 15 injured when Harry Clarke blacked out at the wheel of the bin lorry as it made its way along a busy street packed with Christmas shoppers before ploughing into a hotel last year.

For a second day at the fatal accident inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court Mr Clarke has refused to answer questions on his health background.

The court has heard how the council worker had a history of dizzy spells and did not disclose them to either the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency or on job applications or health assessments for his employers.

At one time, while working as a bus driver, he had blacked out at the wheel of a stationary vehicle.

Moments before last December's crash, Mr Clarke has said he saw Christmas lights and the next thing he heard was his colleague telling him to "wake up" and the vehicle was wedged into the side of the Millennium Hotel.

However, faced with the prospect of a private prosecution from relatives of those killed, Mr Clarke has refused to answer some questions about his health record.

Distraught family members have, for a second day, walked out of proceedings as answers of "no comment" or "I don't wish to answer that question" were given to lawyers.

On Friday, Mr Clarke was asked "do you not have the decency to think of someone other than yourself?"

Dorothy Bain QC, acting for relatives of crash victim Jacqueline Morton, said: "If your daughter was killed and there was a public inquiry trying to find out what might have prevented her death, what would you hope those who might have some information about it would do at that public inquiry?"

Mr Clarke said: "I don't wish to answer that question."

Ms Bain added: "If you've not done anything wrong, why not help today? If you have done something ... do you not think you should begin to make amends for that by choosing to answer?"

Mr Clarke said he did not want to respond and did not comment when Ms Bain went on to describe his "dreadful" work absence record and accused him of deliberately misleading doctors to keep his job as a driver.

She said: "You should never have been behind the wheel of an HGV and you know that."

The driver's lawyer had requested the inquiry be adjourned until the issues around separate prosecutions were resolved.

However, Sheriff John Becket said there was a "substantial public interest" for the proceedings to continue.

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