Police apologise to families of Camelon couple left in wrecked car for three days

Scene of Sunday's crash on the M9 near Bannockburn''Picture: Michael Gillen
Scene of Sunday's crash on the M9 near Bannockburn''Picture: Michael Gillen

Scotland’s top police officer has apologised to the families of a Camelon couple who were left in their wrecked car for three days after the crash was reported.

John Yuill (28) died and Lamara Bell (25) was critically injured in the accident on the M9 on Sunday but the pair were only discovered by officers on Wednesday.

Today, Sir Stephen House said his force “failed both families”.

Police Scotland’s Chief Constable said information about the crash from a member of the public had not been put into the police systems.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) is now reviewing the handling of the incident.

Ms Bell is in a medically induced coma at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, having suffered kidney damage from dehydration from lying in the wreckage for so long.

Her condition was today described by doctors as “critical”.

In his statement, Sir Stephen House said: “Firstly I want to apologise to the families of John Yuill and Lamara Bell and to the people of Scotland for this individual failure in our service. Everyone in Police Scotland feels this most profoundly. The details given below have been shared with both families but I feel it is right that we also make them public.

“I completely understand the level of concern being raised about the circumstances surrounding the handling of the incident of the crash near the M9 slip road at Bannockburn, and in particular, Police Scotland’s response to information received. That we failed both families involved is without doubt.

“However, I want to make clear to members of the public, and all those who have rightly expressed concern, that the mistakes made in not responding to the call from a member of the public on Sunday, July 5 arose because the information received was not entered onto our systems.

“We know that just prior to 11.30am on Sunday a member of the public contacted Police Scotland via the 101 system to report that they could see a vehicle down an embankment near the M9 slip road at Bannockburn.

“For reasons yet to be established this call was not entered onto our police systems and not actioned out to operational teams in the Stirling area to respond and trace the vehicle.

“Shortly before 10am on July 8 a second call was made to Police Scotland via the 101 system. This call was answered, recorded and allocated to operational teams who located Mr Yuill and Ms Bell within their car.”