Tuesday 27 September 2016

Car crash victim and injured girlfriend left for three days as police failed to investigate

Published 09/07/2015 | 11:45

John Yuill and Lamara Bell, as fears that a couple involved in a crash in which one man died may have lain in a car for three days before being discovered have sparked an independent investigation Credit: Police Scotland/PA Wire
John Yuill and Lamara Bell, as fears that a couple involved in a crash in which one man died may have lain in a car for three days before being discovered have sparked an independent investigation Credit: Police Scotland/PA Wire

The father of a woman who is in a critical condition after a car crash which killed her boyfriend has questioned why police "ignored" the incident for three days.

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An investigation has been launched into the police failure to follow up a report of the crash which killed John Yuill, 28, and left 25-year-old Lamara Bell critically injured in hospital.

Blue Renault Clio that John Yuill and Lamara Bell were last seen in as officers searching for the missing couple confirmed that a man has died and a woman is in a critical condition in hospital following a motorway car crash Credit: Police Scotland/PA Wire
Blue Renault Clio that John Yuill and Lamara Bell were last seen in as officers searching for the missing couple confirmed that a man has died and a woman is in a critical condition in hospital following a motorway car crash Credit: Police Scotland/PA Wire

Mr Yuill and Ms Bell were reported missing after visiting Loch Earn, Stirlingshire, in a blue Renault Clio on Sunday.

Police Scotland said officers were called to the M9 near Stirling yesterday following a report that a Renault Clio had gone off the road.

The male driver of the car was pronounced dead at the scene, while the female passenger was taken to hospital in Glasgow.

The force admitted they had received a report on Sunday morning about a car which was off the road, but it had not been followed up at the time.

Ms Bell's father Ossie Dinnefash pleaded with his daughter to "wake up".

He wrote on Facebook: "Lamara was in a field for three days after the accident. She was on her way home.

"Because of some nice guy that phoned it in and was ignored by the incident room the messages were never passed on.

"Now my daughter is laying on life support. All I can ask from everybody is help tonight, tell her to wake up.

"Sorry as I write this I am crying my eyes out. Please make her wake up."

Speaking today, Mr Yuill's father Gordon said: "The family just want to be left in peace now to grieve.

"Our thoughts are also with Lamara's family at this time."

He told the Daily Record newspaper: "It wouldn't have made any difference for John. His injuries were such that he died on impact. But I feel it may have made a difference for Lamara. My heart goes out to her family for that."

Friends of the couple have paid tribute to Mr Yuill and sent their thoughts to Ms Bell through social media.

One wrote: "U were a great guy and a brilliant dad."

Debbie Craig wrote: "Thoughts are with u all at this hard time. Praying she wakes up soon cmon lamara!! Xx."

Kevin Giles added: "He was my nephews dad they are devested rip john u will be missed. (sic)"

Meanwhile, the Forth Valley division of Police Scotland's Facebook page has been flooded with hundreds of comments questioning why officers failed to follow up the report of the incident on Sunday.

Siobhan Samson wrote: "How can this happen? I regularly go to work via the M9 and the M876 and you seem to have plenty of vans to detect speeding and yet this emergency call seemed to have gone unexplored. How is that?"

Jackie Martin added: "Absolute disgrace that these people have lay injured and dying for 3 days."

Assistant Chief Constable Kate Thomson, of Local Policing East, said: ''It has come to light that a call was made to police late on Sunday morning regarding a car which was reported as being off the road. For reasons currently being investigated, that report was not followed up at the time.

''Officers have notified the families of this update. Our thoughts are with both families at this difficult time.

''A full investigation is currently under way to establish the full circumstances of the incident.''

The matter has been referred to the police investigations and review commissioner (Pirc) by the Crown Office.

A spokesman for Pirc said: "The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has directed the police investigations and review commissioner to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a 28-year-old man and serious injury of a 25-year-old woman following an incident at the M9 southbound near junction nine at Bannockburn on July 8."

The crash site is close to the Bannockburn Interchange.

At the scene today, a temporary orange barrier has sealed a gap in the fencing where, beyond, a patch of disturbed grass can be seen.

A single police car remains at the scene.

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