Lorry Crash Inquiry Chief Replaced

29 May 2015, 12:19 | Updated: 29 May 2015, 12:22

The sheriff overseeing the inquiry into the Glasgow bin lorry crash which killed six people has withdrawn after realising he was known to a victim's family.

Sheriff Principal Craig Scott, who has presided over two hearings ahead of the beginning of the inquiry on July 22, will be replaced by John Beckett QC.

A statement released by the Judiciary of Scotland said Sheriff Scott "has since become aware that he was acquainted with one of the deceased and is known to the deceased's family''.

The next preliminary hearing will go ahead on June 18 in front of Sheriff Beckett at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The Judiciary statement read: "Sheriff Principal Scott QC has appointed Sheriff John Beckett to replace him on the inquiry which is due to commence on July 22 2015.

"On March 19 it was announced that the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) relating to the road traffic incident which resulted in the deaths of six people and a number of persons injured in Glasgow city centre on December 22 2014 was to be conducted by Sheriff Principal Craig AL Scott QC at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

"Sheriff Principal Scott has since become aware that he was acquainted with one of the deceased and is known to the deceased's family.''

The Judiciary said the link was not initially apparent in the original application to the court.

The statement added: "In the circumstances, Sheriff Principal Scott has taken the immediate decision to recuse himself from the inquiry and has appointed Sheriff John Beckett QC to replace him.''

The FAI is to look at the bin lorry driver's medical background and his fitness to hold a licence, and will also consider the technical aspects of the vehicle itself and whether it was appropriate for it to take the route it did through Glasgow city centre just before Christmas.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents, Jack Sweeney, 68, and his 69-year-old wife Lorraine, all from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, died when the truck lost control in Queen Street.

Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed when the vehicle mounted the pavement before crashing into the side of the Millennium Hotel in George Square.