Police Scotland plead guilty to contributing to death of woman who was found days after car crash


Police Scotland has pleaded guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh to failings which ‘materially contributed’ to the death of a young woman who was found conscious in her car three days after a serious crash. 

A Police Scotland investigation revealed Lamara Bell was conscious when she was found by emergency services three days after crashing on the M9 near Stirling in 2015

Lamara Bell, 25, was alive and trying desperately to escape her Renault Clio when she was finally found by emergency services on the M9 near Stirling – three days after the accident was reported to police who initially failed to investigate.

Her partner, John Yuill, 28, was found dead at the scene and Ms Bell died in hospital a week later.

The crash was reported to Police Scotland by a member of the public on the day it happened, but the pair were only discovered in the car three days later after police received a further call. 

They had been conducting a missing persons search in the meantime, appealing for information on the couple’s whereabouts after a camping trip.

On July 5, 2015, a Police Scotland call-handler at the force’s Bilston Glen centre ‘failed to record’ a report from a eye-witness that a car was at the bottom of the embankment just off the M9, near Stirling. 

Later in July it emerged that Police Scotland had called Miss Bell’s phone nine days after she died, leaving her a voicemail message.

A senior officer visited the family to apologise for the mistake that saw a constable leave the message on July 21, saying: ‘Lamara, we are looking to speak to your sister Rebecca [in reality her cousin]. If you have seen her, can you give us a call back.’

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone arriving for a hearing in the M9 death crash case at Edinburgh High Court on Tuesday morning

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone arriving for a hearing in the M9 death crash case at Edinburgh High Court on Tuesday morning

Couple John Yuill, 28, and Lamara Bell, 25, died after a crash on the M9 near Stirling. Ms Bell was found '100% conscious' three days after the collision was reported to police who failed to investigate

Couple John Yuill, 28, and Lamara Bell, 25, died after a crash on the M9 near Stirling. Ms Bell was found ‘100% conscious’ three days after the collision was reported to police who failed to investigate

Scotland Police’s Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone was pictured arriving for the hearing over the M9 death crash case at Edinburgh High Court on Tuesday morning.

His force pleaded guilty to a series of failings under the Health and Safety Act that ‘materially contributed’ to the death of Ms Bell in 2015. 

The High Court was informed that Police Scotland had admitted ‘corporate criminal liability’ over Ms Bell’s death and that members of the public ‘were exposed to risks’.

Between April 1, 2013 and March 1, 2016, the force said it ‘failed to provide’ a reliable 101 call system, failed to ensure it was protected against risks caused by human error and failed to ensure relevant information submitted by members of the public was adequately recorded. 

Officers failed to respond to reports of the car leaving the M9 near Stirling last month and only attended the scene three days later. They are pictured above on July 9

Officers failed to respond to reports of the car leaving the M9 near Stirling last month and only attended the scene three days later. They are pictured above on July 9 

Investigation: Woodland near Junction 9 of the M9, where Miss Bell and her boyfriend were found in their car

Investigation: Woodland near Junction 9 of the M9, where Miss Bell and her boyfriend were found in their car 

It comes as Lamara’s father, Andrew Bell, 56, blasted Police Scotland’s poor record over answering 101 calls after a new study revealed approximately 40 per cent of all callers were unable to speak to a receiver. 

He told The Sun the fresh data a ‘slap in the face’,  six years on from the death of Lamara and her boyfriend John Yuill, 28, died amid a 101 bungle. 

He said: ‘Most of the time you are going to head towards the 999 number. If there is nobody to answer 101, what’s the point?

‘It’s a slap in the face for everybody, not just my family. They need to invest more.’

The family remain convinced that if Lamara may well have survived the ordeal if she was found by the emergency services earlier. 

Her brother, Martin Bell, revealed Lamara was conscious and able to tell firefighters her name and identity after she was discovered three days after the crash.

She incorrectly told them her age, telling those in attendance she was 29 instead of 25, and reportedly told one of them to ‘f*** off’, according to family members. 

Martin wrote online: ‘She [Lamara] was able to tell them her name she added four years on to her age and told them she was 29… she did also say she was only in the car for 20 mins… And she told the fire fighter to f*** off and that is defo something my sister would say.

‘They also said she was still moving around trying to get out the car but was trapped.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk