Thursday 24 May 2018

Driver of bin lorry that killed Christmas shoppers in Glasgow says he grieves for victims 'every minute'

Emergency services attend the scene near a cordon off crashed bin lorry in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland
Emergency services attend the scene near a cordon off crashed bin lorry in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland

Auslan Cramb

The driver of a bin lorry who collapsed at the wheel before the vehicle killed six Christmas shoppers in Glasgow has said he thinks about those who lost their lives “every minute of the day”.

Harry Clarke, 58, an experienced HGV driver, collapsed at the wheel with a heart problem before the lorry careered across George Square on December 22.

Three other crew members in the lorry are understood to have been in the seats behind him but were unable to stop the vehicle. The six people who died included three members of the same family, while 10 people were injured.

Mr Clarke, who spent two weeks in hospital, said nothing would ever be normal again for him, or for the relatives of the victims and revealed that he was unconscious throughout the incident.

John Sweeney, known as Jack, 68, and his 18-year-old granddaughter Erin McQuade were among six who died in the disaster.
John Sweeney, known as Jack, 68, and his 18-year-old granddaughter Erin McQuade were among six who died in the disaster.

In a statement to the Daily Record he added: “I want to reach out to the injured and families of those who died on December 22. I can’t really think how to express myself.

Read more: Teen and grandparents killed in Glasgow lorry crash today to be laid to rest today

“I just want all the families and the public to know that I appreciate all the support they have given me through the newspapers and also the cards people have sent me.

“I’ve felt awful not speaking out before now but I was in hospital and my health hasn’t really improved much at all.

Lorraine Sweeney (left) and her granddaughter Erin McQuade (right) who were two of the six people killed when a bin lorry lost control, hitting Christmas shoppers in Glasgow.
Lorraine Sweeney (left) and her granddaughter Erin McQuade (right) who were two of the six people killed when a bin lorry lost control, hitting Christmas shoppers in Glasgow.

“I am not saying that to get sympathy, I don’t want that, but I don’t want the families to think I have been hiding. I haven’t. I am just anxious that I don’t upset anyone.”

Mr Clarke said he wanted to make a statement so that everyone knew that he “grieves for everyone involved in the accident”, adding: “I understand a lot of people want to know what happened that day. I wish I could tell you but I can’t. I never had anything wrong with my heart until that day.”

He said he had racked his brain but could not remember anything from the incident because he was unconscious throughout it. I will never know what happened other than other people telling me what they saw. Every day is a struggle.

“I have worked all my life. I just lived a normal life. Nothing will ever be normal for me or any of the families ever again. I think of everyone every minute of every day.”

Read more: Nephew of Glasgow bin lorry victims does not blame driver for deaths

The driver, who is being supported by his daughter Karen, 32, worked as a bus driver before joining Glasgow City Council.

Police have passed a report to the Crown Office, which is expected to decide what should happen next by the end of the month.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents, Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, all from Dumbarton, died in the incident, along with Stephanie Tait, 29, a primary school teacher and Jacqueline Morton, 51, a tax worker, both from Glasgow. Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, also died when the truck mounted the pavement before hitting the Millennium Hotel in George Square.

Telegraph.co.uk

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