Tayside and Central Scotland

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland expects M9 crash inquiry

Lamara Bell and John Yuill
Image caption John Yuill and Lamara Bell were found in the car three days after the crash was first reported

Scotland's outgoing Lord Advocate has said it is "inconceivable" that a fatal accident inquiry would not be held into the M9 crash tragedy.

Frank Mulholland QC said he would expect an inquiry to be held given the level of public concern over the incident.

Lamara Bell, 25, and John Yuill, 28, were found in their car three days after it crashed near Stirling.

Police later admitted they had failed to respond to a call about the crash.

Ms Bell was critically injured in the crash and died later in hospital. Her partner Mr Yuill died at the scene.

Mr Mulholland instructed the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances.

Earlier this year, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie wrote to the Lord Advocate asking for an update on the investigation.

Image caption The crashed car was found off the M9 motorway on the outskirts of Stirling

In a reply to Mr Rennie, Mr Mulholland said: "When all investigations are completed this case will be reported to Crown Counsel for instruction as to what, if any, proceedings are appropriate.

"It is open to Crown Counsel to instruct fatal accident inquiries or criminal proceedings where appropriate.

"As with any sudden death case, the evidence in this case will be analysed carefully and all options will be considered.

"I should add that, notwithstanding a decision on criminal proceedings, I find it inconceivable that a fatal accident inquiry will not be held given the public concern over this tragedy."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Crown has received an interim report from the Pirc in connection with an incident on the M9 in July 2015. It would be inappropriate to comment further while the investigation is live.

"The families of those involved will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments."

An inquiry following the crash has already highlighted weaknesses in Police Scotland's roll-out of its new national call-handling system.

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