On December 22nd, 2014 at around 2.30pm, the city of Glasgow experienced a harrowing and devastating incident. While some innocent people were out doing their Christmas shopping and market visits around George Square on this day, they had no idea what was around the corner for them that Christmas. A man named Harry Clarke was driving a bin lorry when he passed out at the wheel, causing the bin lorry to lose control and steer directly into the side of a hotel and numerous people. Killing 6 people and injuring 15, this was a shocking accident that occurred on this fateful day. This does not even cover the many people who saw the incident and will be left with emotional trauma and scars from what they saw to this day.
This news story may seem like a tragic accident that is one of the gruesome events which can occur in life on this planet. The accident is seen by many as an event that could not have been helped or avoided. It was just life. However, others do not feel this way as there is more to the story than what it seems. After the accident, people wanted answers. The people who especially wanted answers were the ones whose loved ones were involved. The excited laughs and merry sounds of a vibrant city getting ready for Christmas were replaced by screams of terror, shock and devastation.
Mr Harry Clarke, the driver of the bin lorry, was reportedly hired over 300 other applicants for his job as a bin lorry driver. Mr Clarke was hired after completing a Bupa medical questionnaire. Mr Clarke was not in a fit position to be driving a 260-tonne vehicle, despite filling out this medical questionnaire. Clarke declared one episode of sickness leading to seven days off in the past two years. However, a presiding judge on the case, Lord Ericht heard that Mr Clarke’s GP, Dr Gerard McKaig confirmed he had been misled about Mr Clarke’s medical history prior to the crash. Mr Clarke had reported to his GP that he had fainted in a warm canteen building in the past once but it was later revealed that this was not the truth and Clarke had actually lost consciousness behind the wheel of a stationary bus before. In court, it was declared that Mr Clarke “did not have the necessary criminal state of mind required for a criminal prosecution.” However, it was revealed that Clarke had indeed lied about his past dealings with epilepsy and falling unconscious because he wanted to keep his job. I understand this, however, if you know you are potentially putting other people's lives at risk, this is surely unhinged. Having personally lost a family member in the crash, I feel that I can speak up about this incident. People wish to put the incident to bed and make peace with it as it was truly such a scarring event that will never be forgotten. I agree with this to a certain extent but believe that Mr Clarke should also receive punishment for literally putting people's lives in his hands due to his lies.
On the day following the crash, all flags on Scottish Government buildings were flown at half-mast. All the Christmas lights on George Square were switched off and the attractions closed as a mark of respect for those involved in the incident. This Christmas, if you are in Glasgow, take a minute to think for those who have had an emptiness in their hearts at Christmas every year since this terrible day. It has nearly been ten years.
Edited By Sanjana Srinivasan
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