South Scotland

Snowman Rally death woman's son gives evidence to FAI

Scene of fatal accident at Snowman Rally
Image caption The fatal accident at the Snowman Rally happened in 2013

A man has told a fatal accident inquiry of the moments leading up to his mother's death at a car rally in the Highlands.

Joy Robson, 51, from Skye, died after a rally car crashed at the Snowman Rally near Inverness in February 2013.

She had been watching the motorsports event with her son Dean.

He told the FAI that they had tried to move from where they were standing because they felt it was becoming dangerous, but it was too late.

The FAI at Edinburgh Sheriff Court was shown video footage of the moments leading up to the crash, with cars getting closer to spectators.

The same inquiry will also examine the deaths of three people - Iain Provan, Elizabeth Allan and Len Stern - at the Jim Clark Rally near Coldstream in the Borders in 2014.

On Wednesday, a rally driver told the hearing how his car somersaulted out of control before hitting Ms Robson at the Highlands event.

Graeme Schoneville said he hit a rock on wet gravel before the car rolled off the forest track.

'Ripped up'

Giving evidence on Thursday, Mr Robson said he saw a car coming down the track which looked like it was losing control before his mother was hit.

The 25-year-old, from Skye, said he and his mother were standing with others up the track from a hairpin bend.

Watching footage recorded by another spectator, he said: "We thought the position we were standing in was no longer safe as cars were coming down the hill and coming closer and closer.

"We made the decision at that time to move, but unfortunately it was too late.

"As the track was getting more ripped up, the cars were sliding a lot closer and closer to us. It was in that moment we started thinking, 'this is actually quite dangerous'."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The deaths of three people at the Jim Clark Rally in 2014 also forms part of the joint inquiry

He said he and his mother moved from where they were standing and planned to leave the rally stage as there was "potentially a hazard in every direction".

When the accident happened, he said he had started moving down the track and thought his mother was right behind him.

'Screams and shouts'

Mr Robson said he heard a car coming and turned round to see it looked like it was "potentially going to crash", and he moved into the trees at the side of the track then fell down a hidden dip.

He said: "It was only a split-second. She would have been behind me. I thought she was following me.

"I could hear trees crunching, screams and shouts. I looked to see where my mother was and saw that my mother was on the floor. There was a tree hanging over her."

Mr Robson told the inquiry how others helped him lift the tree off his mother and said he felt it was a "long time" before paramedics arrived.

He said: "She was in and out of consciousness, screaming and shouting and then passing out."

Mr Robson said his mother was taken to an ambulance and was successfully resuscitated two or three time before a fourth attempt failed and a doctor informed him she had died.

The inquiry continues.

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