Glasgow bin lorry crash driver had been suspended by previous employer First Bus, inquiry told

Six people were killed when Harry Clarke fell unconscious at the wheel in Glasgow city centre in December last year

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The driver of a bin lorry which crashed and killed six people had been suspended by his previous employer when he started working for Glasgow City Council, an inquiry has heard.

The fatal accident inquiry into the incident in the city centre on 22 December last year, heard at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Thursday, found Harry Clarke had been suspended from duty by First Bus in December 2010.

He had also previously been given a formal warning over poor attendance by the company.

The council truck spun out of control after witnesses reported Mr Clarke appeared to lose consciousness at the wheel.

web-glasgow-1-pa.jpg
Candles and flowers are left near the Gallery of Modern Art as the city reopens after the bin lorry crash on Sunday

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, were struck and killed by the vehicle.

Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, also died.

Solicitor Advocate Ronald Conway, who was representing the family of one of the victims, described Mr Clarke as a “deeply unattractive candidate for Glasgow City Council”.

He asked Douglas Gellan, a cleansing services waste manager for the council, if they had known about the formal warning and whether that would have acted as a “red flag” when it came to hiring him.

Mr Conway said: “There's not the remotest chance that you would have let this man behind the wheel of a large vehicle."

Mr Gellan replied: "It's a case of not just me determining if he is fit to drive the vehicle.

"There's lots of evidence here. We would have taken it into account when making that decision."

 

Mr Conway said Mr Clarke’s employment record at the council did not contain any reference from First Bus and suggested there had been a “blunder” somewhere along the line.

The inquiry continues.

Additional reporting by PA