The family of Lamara Bell, the woman who was left in a crashed car next to the dead body of her partner for three days and later died, is to receive £1m in compensation from Police Scotland. Ms Bell was found in critical condition after the crash on the M9 motorway in 2015.
The force settled the action from the family after they sued for the failure to respond to a 999 call made by a local farmer who had spotted the car lying crashed off the hard shoulder of the motorway. When the police finally arrived three days after the initial call, after a second call had been made, they found Ms Bell, 25, in critical condition and her partner, John Yuill, 28, dead alongside her. She was taken to hospital but died of her injuries four days later, leaving behind two children aged 5 and 10. The Record newspaper has reported that the children will now receive £500,000 each.
Police Scotland had already admitted to avoidable failures in its call-handling system and issued an unreserved apology before being found guilty of corporate criminal liability in September 2020. The family’s lawyer, David Nellaney of Digby Brown, said they welcomed Police Scotland’s compensation payment but criticised the force for failing to settle the case at a far earlier stage.
“The Bell family has endured things very few people could ever comprehend but the patience, resilience and compassion they have shown at all times cannot be understated,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that Police Scotland did not admit its failings sooner as it might have spared them unnecessary distress, but at least we do now have a conclusion and the Bells can rightly focus on themselves and times ahead.”
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