Inquiry announced into deaths of pair who crashed off M9 without being found

Crown Counsel has formally instructed a fatal accident inquiry should be launched into the deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill.

Dan Barker
Monday 06 December 2021 16:58
Police officers search the scene at Junction 9 of the M9 after a car was discovered off the road with the driver dead and passenger still alive (PA)
Police officers search the scene at Junction 9 of the M9 after a car was discovered off the road with the driver dead and passenger still alive (PA)

The deaths of a young mother and her partner, who were left undiscovered for three days after crashing off the M9 despite a passer-by telling police, will be investigated further.

The Crown Office said on Monday that the deaths of Lamara Bell, 25, and her partner John Yuill, 28, will be subject to a fatal accident inquiry more than five years since they crashed off the M9 near Stirling and were left for dead.

On Thursday the family of Miss Bell were awarded more than £1 million in damages from Police Scotland in a civil settlement, and in September the force was fined £100,000 after it pleaded guilty to health and safety failings which “materially contributed” to Ms Bell’s death.

Lamara Bell and John Yuill, who died when their car crashed off of the M9 on July 5, 2015 (Police Scotland/PA)

Justin Farrell, Deputy Procurator Fiscal, specialist casework, said the prosecution was an important step which had to be taken before a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) could be fully considered.

“The public interest will now be further served in a FAI to examine the full circumstances surrounding these tragic deaths and to help avoid such an incident happening again in the future,” Mr Farrell said.

Police officers search the scene at Junction 9 of the M9 after a car was discovered off the road with the driver dead and passenger still alive (Andrew Milligan/PA)

When the couple crashed off the road on July 5 2015, a passer-by called police but it took police three days to respond.

When officers finally arrived, Mr Yuill was dead and Ms Bell died four days later in hospital.

The High Court in Edinburgh had been told that Ms Bell pleaded for help after being found and would probably have survived had this happened sooner.

The Crown Office said now that Crown Counsel had formally instructed there should be a fatal accident inquiry, it will continue with work in preparation and there are more steps to be taken for a notice can be sent to the court to ask proceedings are ordered.

It said both families had been informed, and Mr Farrell said the inquiry process is expected to begin in 2022.

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