Mother hopes M9 crash inquiry will provide answers on daughter’s death

The FAI is seeking to establish the circumstances surrounding Lamara Bell and John Yuill's deaths in 2015.

The mother of a woman who was left undiscovered along with her partner for days after crashing off the M9 is hoping for more answers about her daughter’s death, a hearing has been told.

Lamara Bell, 25, and John Yuill, 38, died after the car they were in crashed on the motorway near Stirling in July 2015.

They were left lying in their Renault Clio for three days before being discovered, despite police previously being alerted to the incident.

The first preliminary hearing for the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the case took place virtually from Stirling Sheriff Court on Friday.

Lawyers representing witnesses, including the parents of the deceased, discussed proceedings and provisional dates for the full hearing to take place.

Lawyer Andrew Bergin appeared for Ms Bell’s mother Diane.

He told the court his client’s concerns throughout proceedings “pertain mainly to how the crash occurred and whether or not Lamara may have survived with prompt medical care”.

The FAI comes after the family of Ms Bell was awarded more than £1 million in damages from Police Scotland in a civil settlement last December.

Last September, the force was fined £100,000 at the High Court in Edinburgh after it pleaded guilty to health and safety failings which “materially contributed” to Ms Bell’s death.

The court heard Ms Bell pleaded for help after being found and would probably have survived had this happened sooner.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone apologised to the families following the court case.

A second preliminary hearing for the FAI was set for January 20 at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

A provisional date for the full hearing to start on April 3 next year was discussed, but lawyers asked for this to be confirmed at the next hearing.

Procurator fiscal Gavin Anderson said he expects the full hearing to last “a number of weeks”.

When the crashed car was discovered on July 8 2015, Mr Yuill was pronounced dead and Ms Bell died four days later in hospital.

A member of the public had reported the crashed vehicle to police on July 5, but no action was taken until another member of the public noticed the car three days later, heard Ms Bell pleading for help, and called the police.

Similar to an inquest in England and Wales, a FAI is not a criminal inquiry and is used to establish facts rather than apportion blame.

Their purpose includes determining the cause of death, the circumstances in which the death occurred, and to establish what reasonable precautions could have been taken to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.

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