Glasgow & West Scotland

Parents bid for private prosecution of death driver William Payne

Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Mhairi Convy (left) and Laura Stewart were both students at the former Central College of Commerce

The families of two students who were killed by a driver with a history of blackouts have begun moves to bring a private prosecution against him.

Mhairi Convy, 18, and Laura Stewart, 20, died after William Payne passed out and his Range Rover hit them on North Hanover Street, Glasgow, in 2010.

An attempt to prosecute Mr Payne was later dropped by the Crown in 2013.

The girls' families have lodged a Bill of Criminal letters with the Crown Office in a bid to start a prosecution.

The news came the day after the family of three victims of the Glasgow bin lorry crash launched a similar bid to bring a private prosecution against the driver, Harry Clarke.

Lawyers for the families of Ms Convy and Ms Stewart delivered the papers to Scotland's top law officer, Lord Advocate Frank Mullholland, seeking his agreement for the move.

Legal response

Even without his approval, they can seek permission from High Court judges.

The lord advocate now has seven days to respond.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Lord Advocate has received a Bill of Criminal Letters and will give it due consideration.

"The Crown position on this will be made clear to the families and the court when appropriate."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "The decision on whether to allow a private prosecution to proceed is for the High Court however before an application can be made to the court, the lord advocate, Scotland's senior prosecutor, must be asked whether he agrees that the prosecution should go ahead."

Ms Convy, of Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, and Ms Stewart, of Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, were accounting students at the former Central College of Commerce.

The friends were on a free period when they headed towards the city centre to do some Christmas shopping on 17 December 2010.

Image caption Payne's 4x4 Range Rover struck the students after he suffered a blackout at the wheel

They were fatally injured after being struck by Mr Payne's 4x4 Range Rover, which had mounted the kerb. Both students died of their injuries at the city's Royal Infirmary.

Following the crash, Mr Payne was charged with causing death by driving while uninsured but the case was dropped.

A fatal accident inquiry later concluded the women's deaths were an accident which was caused by Mr Payne suffering a blackout while driving.

The inquiry heard that, in the three years before the accident, he had suffered six blackouts.

It concluded the deaths may have been avoided had Mr Payne disclosed his history of blackouts to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and for doctors to have advised him not to drive.

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