Police Apologise For M9 Crash Voicemail
28 July 2015, 19:40
Police called crash victim Lamara Bell's phone 10 days after she died, her family have revealed.
Ms Bell, 25, was critically injured in the crash off the M9 near Stirling on July 5 and died in hospital a week later. Her partner John Yuill, 28, was found dead at the scene.
The crash was reported that day to Police Scotland by a member of the public but the pair were only discovered in the car three days later after police received a further call to the scene.
The brother of Ms Bell wrote on Facebook about how a senior officer visited the family today to apologise in advance after a voicemail message was left on her phone last week.
It is understood the call was made on July 21 by an officer asking about the whereabouts of another family member.
Chief Superintendent John Hawkins, Forth Valley Divisional Commander, said: "Once again I want to offer Police Scotland's condolences to the Bell family.
"I am deeply disappointed that we have shown such a lack of awareness given all the briefings put in place within Forth Valley area and the media coverage reflecting the level of shock felt across the country.
"We clearly regret having caused any further upset to them.
"I have given all the details to the Bell family of why the call was made and given my, and the chief constable's, sincere apologies on behalf of the force."
Scottish Labour's justice spokesman Hugh Henry said: "This is the last thing Lamara Bell's family needs.
"We all know that people can make mistakes but when it's one mistake after another then it becomes more serious.
"This is a shambles and unfortunately it damages the credibility of Police Scotland even further. Someone, either in government or the police, must take responsibility for all this."
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has admitted police "failed both families" over its handling of the initial incident.
The police investigations and review commissioner has begun an independent investigation into the circumstances.
Scotland's Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has formally directed Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) to undertake an urgent review of all police call handling following the incident.
Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: "This just underlines the chaos that is Police Scotland at the moment.
"Calls are not being dealt with correctly and simple information - which should be at people's fingertips - is clearly not being passed on at a local level."