A SAFETY officer has said he was “gobsmacked and horrified” when shown video footage of spectators in a prohibited area during a rally in which three people died.

Keith Brown was the spectator safety officer at the Jim Clark memorial rally in 2013, the year before the tragedy.

Speaking at a fatal accident inquiry into the three deaths, he said if people were in a prohibited area, the marshals should have contacted the stage commander and had the rally stopped.

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He added that when he was the safety officer he would drive round about 15 to 20 minutes before the first rally car to make sure people were in the proper place.

If he saw they were not, he would “wind the window down and talk face to face with them”.

“It was better that way,” he said. Mr Brown, 55, said that he normally explained the “nuts and bolts” to members of the public and they would then move to a safer position.

He told the court that cars had gone off at that point every year and he was sure everyone knew it was a place where accidents happened.

The video showed two signs before the bridge, saying the area was prohibited. Mr Brown said he would have had more signs.

It also showed people standing near the road after the bridge, where a car had gone into a field in the morning stage.

He said: “I am gobsmacked and horrified. I didn’t expect to see anyone there. I would have closed the stage until everyone had left the area”.

The inquiry continues.