Car rally deaths inqury underway

18 July 2017, 17:17 | Updated: 18 July 2017, 17:32

Edinburgh Sheriff Court

A joint fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the deaths of four motor sport fans at separate rallies in Scotland has begun.

Joy Robson, 51, died of multiple injuries sustained at the Snowman Rally in Inverness, in the Highlands, in 2013.

Iain Provan, 64, Elizabeth Allan, 63, and Len Stern, 71, lost their lives at the Jim Clark Rally near Coldstream in the Scottish Borders the following year.

It is the first time a single inquiry has been held into deaths which happened in different parts of Scotland.

The inquiry, which is expected to last several weeks, formally got under way before Sheriff Kenneth Maciver QC at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Advocate depute Andrew Brown QC, for the Crown, began the hearing by reading out a joint minute of agreed facts in relation to the Snowman Rally, before a number of procedural matters were addressed.

Eyewitness evidence centred around the Inverness crash is expected to be led first over the coming days, the inquiry heard.

The inquiry will then broadly move to examining the fatal incident at the Jim Clark Rally in 2014.

The decision to hold a joint FAI was announced by the Crown Office towards the end of last year.

The probe will look at the full circumstances surrounding the deaths and "help to avoid such incidents happening in the future''.

The Crown last year confirmed no criminal proceedings would be brought in relation to either event, although that could be reconsidered if additional evidence emerges.

Ms Robson died after being struck by a car taking part in the Snowman Rally in February 2013.

Mr Provan, his partner Ms Allan and Mr Stern were all fatally injured when a car involved in the Jim Clark Rally spun off the course in May 2014.

The Jim Clark event has been suspended until the completion of the FAI.

Andrew Henderson, lawyer for Ms Robson's family, said earlier this week: "They want to finally know the full reasons behind Joy losing her life and to make sure that spectator safety at Scottish rallies can be improved to a level where no other family can suffer a bereavement in such an awful and needless way.''