Inquiry into deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill should have happened earlier

John Yuill and Lamara Bell were not discovered for three days.
-Credit: (Image: Police Scotland)

The tragic deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill are the stuff of nightmares. Their car careered off the M9 and despite calls to the police it was three days before officers attended the scene.

By that time John was dead and Lamara was still alive – but died four days later in hospital. This horror occurred in July 2015.

Yet it is only today, almost nine years after, that the families of those involved are finding out exactly what happened. A Fatal Accident Inquiry was not ordered straight away.

It was finally decided to stage an inquiry many years later and the findings are finally published today. It is hardly earth-shattering news to anybody who has followed this case or the families.

The police call-handling was a shambles and led to frantic communications from members of the public being ignored or downgraded.

What many will want to know, though, is why it has taken nine years to get the findings into the public domain. In England when a fatal accident occurs a coroner's inquest happens automatically and within days hearings are under way.

In Scotland wheels of justice in these cases spin far more slowly. This is not acceptable.

In those nine long years since Lamara and John died, many of those responsible for call-handling at Police Scotland will have moved on to other jobs.

Many will no longer be serving officers. The problems that led to this disaster may have been resolved years ago through internal police procedures.

This inquiry should have happened earlier. And when it was announced, should have been carried out quicker. The long wait for answers has been too long for the families of Lamara and John.

Doing right thing for postal victims

The quashing of Horizon scandal convictions has not come a moment too soon. Subpostmasters were traumatised by the ordeal, their lives ruined, with many losing jobs, homes and relationships.

And tragically some suicides were linked to the scandal. All affected were put through undue stress through no fault of their own.

It was all caused by a dodgy IT system. Some spoke out, but their complaints were dismissed by the Post Office. The fact that Scottish postmasters were excluded from the Westminster Bill to clear their name was a disgrace.

So it is welcome that the Scottish Parliament has now approved our own legislation to clear their names. Nothing will ever fully make amends, but it is a step in the right direction.

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