FAI rules Lanark milk boy death could not be foreseen

Image caption,
Conor McSherry died after being hit by a mini-van while on his milk round

A sheriff has ruled the death of a milk boy killed by a minibus as he made early morning deliveries was a tragic accident.

Conor McSherry, 16, was struck by the vehicle after he stepped off a milk float in Cleghorn, Lanark, last June.

A fatal accident inquiry into his death was held at Lanark Sheriff Court.

In a written judgement, Sheriff Nikola Stewart said what happened could not have been foreseen.

Conor's family has welcomed the findings of the FAI.

The 16-year-old was employed with Carluke firm Miller's Dairy Ltd, and on the day of the accident he was one of two boys delivering milk from a Ford Transit van.

The teenager - who was not wearing a high-visibility vest - was seen running onto the A706 road and into the path of a minibus.

The vehicle, driven by professional driver Francis Keenan, hit Conor before stopping further down the road.

The inquiry heard evidence from police officers, dairy workers and medical staff who had treated the milk boy at the scene.

In her judgement Sheriff Stewart said that although Conor was in breach of management rules by not wearing a high visibility vest, the taking of such a precaution would not have prevented his death.

She added: "Conor was wearing a white top. A flash of white was seen by Mr Simm and Mr McInnes who were in a vehicle directly behind Mr Keenan's.

"Conor was, to that extent, visible to road users.

"Conor was not seen by Mr Keenan because he emerged at speed from behind the milk delivery van directly into the path of the mini bus, not because his clothing did not stand out."

She added: "Mr Keenan had no opportunity to see him, never mind take avoiding action.

"No criticism can be levelled against Mr Keenan or the vehicle he was driving."

The sheriff went on to suggest the milk boy's death may act as a warning to delivery businesses who employ young people.

She said: "I would hope that Miller Dairy Ltd, together with all businesses who operate similar van delivery services using young employees, would consider carefully whether greater formality in terms of strict rules on compliance and the carrying of guests might delineate more clearly the responsibility of their drivers and make it easier for drivers to combine any supervisory role with their driving function."

Reacting to the findings of the FAI, Conor's mother Maureen said: "It is clear what happened to Conor was a tragic accident and no-one is to blame.

"I was pleased that the sheriff mentioned that work places who employ young adults have a duty of care to them.

"I hope no other families have to suffer the heartache we have suffered."

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