Bin lorry crash driver will 'carry tragedy with him for the rest of his days'

The lorry driven by Harry Clarke, who blacked out behind the wheel, crashed in Glasgow city centre on December 22, 2014. Credit: .

A fatal accident inquiry into the Glasgow bin lorry crash closed today as it heard that the driver would carry what happened with him for the "rest of his days".

Harry Clarke, 58, lost consciousness at the wheel of the truck on December 22 last year and the runaway lorry crashed into pedestrians in Glasgow city centre, killing six people and injuring 15.

As the six-week inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court drew to a close, his lawyer Paul Reid QC said: "Harry Clarke does not doubt for a moment the unimaginable grief, loss and sadness that the families of the victims must have suffered.

"He recognises that there is nothing I can say on his behalf that will offer comfort to the families."

Sheriff John Beckett brought the inquiry to a close, advising he would issue a written determination.

He said the "extraordinary circumstances" of the incident "require and deserve careful assessment".

Sheriff Beckett said this would not be achieved in less than two months, but he would endeavour to be able to do so by January at the latest.

The family of one of Jacqueline Morton, one of the six people who died, said "nothing can undo" their grief.

The mother-of-two's family intend to seek the private prosecution of Mr Clarke and have previously expressed their disappointment that the Crown had not pursued criminal proceedings.

Mr Clarke repeatedly refused to answer questions about a previous blackout in 2010 amid the threat of private prosecution.

Mother-of-two Jacqueline Morton was killed in the crash Credit: HMRC

The family of Jacqueline Morton

The family of Erin McQuade and her grandparents Jack and Lorraine Sweeney who all died in the crash said they too are considering private prosecution of Mr Clarke.

They also expressed their anger of not being told of the Crown's decision not to prosecute Mr Clarke in person.

The McQuade and Sweeney families, who lost three loved ones in the tragedy, said that the Crown should have discussed its reasoning for not pursuing criminal proceedings in person Credit: ITV News

In a statement, the McQuade and Sweeney families said that it "clearly demonstrates the lack of thought, compassion and understanding by the Crown we have encountered since our first meeting."

Scotland's top prosecutor has strongly defended the Crown's decision not to prosecute Mr Clarke, saying he has "no doubt that the decision was the correct one in law".

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC said he understands the anger and upset of the families who lost loved ones and accepts the decision not to bring criminal charges against Harry Clarke was "unpopular".

But he defended the decision not to prosecute Mr Clarke, saying there was a unanimous view that there was insufficient evidence in law to raise criminal proceedings.

Harry Clarke will not face criminal proceedings but the family of one of the victims is seeking private prosecution. Credit: PA

The decision not to bring criminal charges against Mr Clarke was announced in February and cannot be reversed.

Some evidence made public during the course of the inquiry led some people to criticise the Crown's decision as "hasty" and "wrong".

To pursue a private prosecution, the families will have to apply to the High Court for a Bill of Criminal Letters, a document which would effectively act as an indictment to charge someone with a crime.

he High Court would have to deem that "very special circumstances" existed which would justify permitting such a prosecution.