The heartbroken dad of tragic Scots M9 crash victim Lamara Bell has blasted the £100,000 fine for cops as a ‘slap in the face’ after the force admitted to failings contributing to her death.
Police Scotland was handed the fine after admitting it “materially contributed” to the death of 25-year-old mum-of-two Lamara, who lay undiscovered in a crashed car.
She suffered terrible injuries and remained in the passenger seat next to her dead partner for three days after the incident was reported before later dying in hospital.
The force yesterday pleaded guilty to health and safety failings following the deaths of Lamara and John Yuill, 28, whose car went off the M9 near Stirling in July 2015.
While other members of the family have said justice has been served, Lamara’s dad Andrew Bell, 56, told the Record that he had only found out information about the tragedy through newspaper reports after declining to attend the court hearing.
When asked if he welcomed the verdict, he said: “The answer is justice wasn’t carried out by any means- it was a complete slap in my face finding out things they said were confidential all the time.
“They didn’t even tell us Lamara was asking to get out of the car.
“This is the reason I stopped going to meetings or wasn’t at court.
“I thought it was going to be the same old stuff.”
Mr Bell questioned the value of the £100,000 fine in relation to Lamara’s death.
He wrote on social media: “6yrs = £16k a year = 100k..
“Wheres the Justice?.
“Our daughters life priced because as the judge said they couldn’t afford more than that..
“So I wonder if I went to court I would get away with that one!”
In another heartbreaking post he wrote: “Have you ever watched someone you love die?
Farmer John Wilson and his dad had phoned the non-emergency 101 number to report a car “partly obscured” by bushes on a grass embankment near Stirling.
A police officer at the force call-handling centre at Bilston Glen Service Centre failed to record a phone call from a member of the public reporting that a vehicle was at the bottom of an embankment at the side of the eastbound junction nine slip road from the M80 on to the M9.
Yesterday we told of how James McMillan, grandfather of Lamara’s son Kieran, said the wait for today’s answer had been ‘intolerable’ and he would never forgive then police boss Stephen House – who has since resigned from the force.
He added Lamara’s young son Kieran, now 10, had suffered ‘intense grief’ from the loss of his mother.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “Lamara Bell and John Yuill’s deaths were a tragedy and my thoughts today are with their children, families and friends.
“The preservation of life and helping people who are in crisis go to the heart of our duty to keep people safe.
“Police Scotland failed Lamara and John in that duty, and for that I am sorry.
“On behalf of policing in Scotland, I apologise unreservedly to their families.
“And if the families agree to do so, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with them, when they are ready, to personally convey my apology.
“When I took up the Office of Chief Constable I gave a commitment that the Police Service of Scotland would co-operate fully with the Crown Office investigation into this tragedy.
“The call handling system in place in 2015 exposed the public to an unacceptable risk and led to tragedy.”