Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow bin lorry crash: Driver claimed no blackout history

Harry Clarke and crashed bin lorry
Image caption The bin lorry driven by Harry Clarke crashed after going out of control

The driver of a bin lorry which crashed in Glasgow, killing six people, continued to deny a history of blackouts even after the incident.

Harry Clarke gave the information to doctors on the day of crash.

A fatal accident inquiry has previously heard he had a history of dizziness and had fainted behind the wheel of a stationary bus in 2010.

The driver's GP said the information given by Mr Clarke was "not consistent with his medical history".

Following the crash in December last year, Mr Clarke has had his LGV licence revoked for 10 years.

The hearing was told that, prior to that, he had failed to disclose his health history to the DVLA and on job application forms.

Dorothy Bain QC, representing the family of crash victim Jacqueline Morton, questioned the driver's GP Dr Gerard McKaig.

She said there were reports of dizziness and fainting from Mr Clarke dating back to 1976.

Ms Bain added Mr Clarke was "dizzy" while driving a bus in 1994, and a cardiologist that year reported he had suffered from dizziness for four years.

The QC described Mr Clarke as "a danger on the road".

Image caption Dr Gerard McKaig gave evidence at the inquiry

Ms Bain also showed the court a First Bus health questionnaire, a BUPA questionnaire in 2010 that Mr Clarke filled out for a job with Glasgow City Council, and a DVLA form from 2011.

Dr McKaig agreed with Ms Bain that some of Mr Clarke's answers on these forms were inaccurate and he should have revealed his history of blackouts.

Earlier, the court heard Mr Clarke told Mr McKaig that he had fainted in a canteen and not at the wheel of a bus in 2010.

Dr McKaig said there was a "clear discrepancy" between what he was told by Harry Clarke and information provided by First Bus.

The GP said he would have spoken again to Mr Clarke if he had known of the differing accounts of the incident.

Dr McKaig said Mr Clarke told him he had suffered a five-second loss of consciousness in the work canteen.

The doctor noted the "simple faint" down in his records.

Image caption (Clockwise from top left) Jack Sweeney, Lorraine Sweeney, Erin McQuade, Jacqueline Morton, Stephenie Tait and Gillian Ewing were killed in the crash

During questioning by Solicitor General Lesley Thomson, Dr McKaig was then shown a letter from Dr Lyons at First Bus. It had been sent to a Dr McGlone at Dr McKaig's practice in April 2010.

The letter describes how Mr Clarke's loss of consciousness took place on a stationary bus and asks for further advice.

Dr McKaig said he went on annual leave following the consultation with Mr Clarke, with a Dr John Langan taking on the case.

Dr McKaig told the court that if he had not been on leave and had seen the letter from Dr Lyons, he would identified the "clear discrepancy" between the accounts and would have spoken again to his patient.

He added that he would have expected Dr Langan to make inquiries about the discrepancy.

The GP said he would have told Mr Clarke to notify the DVLA and cease driving had the driver told him he had blacked out at the wheel of the bus.

First Bus inspector John Stewart had previously told the FAI that Mr Clarke had blacked out at a bus stop in 2010.

Image copyright AP

Dr McKaig, a GP in Glasgow for the past 22 years, was questioned during the 10th day of the fatal accident inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Mr Clarke, 58, was unconscious when the bin lorry veered out of control on 22 December 2014.

Glasgow City Council has already said he would not have been employed if it had known about his medical background.

The Crown Office has concluded that there will be no criminal prosecution over the crash, with senior lawyers deeming it a "tragic accident".

Erin McQuade, 18, her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and his 69-year-old wife Lorraine, all from Dumbarton, died in the incident in the city's Queen Street and George Square.

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

A further 15 people were injured.

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