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Urgent inquiry call after rally death toll rises

THE daughter of a woman killed in a rally crash has called for the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into her death to be held urgently after the deaths of three more spectators this month.

Teacher Joy Robson, 50, of Portree in Skye, was watching the Snowman Rally in Inverness when a competitor's car spun out of control and landed on her in February last year

However, an inquiry into her death has yet to take place.

Kerry Johnson yesterday said an inquiry is now needed in order to answer questions about the safety of rallies on public roads in Scotland.

Her comments follow the deaths of John Provan, 64, ­Elizabeth Allan, 63, and 71-year-old John Leonard Stern in one of two crashes at the Jim Clark Rally in the Borders on June 1.

Police are due to carry out a review of safety at public events in Scotland following the deaths, while the Scottish Government has also commissioned a report into motor sport event safety.

But Ms Johnson said the ­families of those who had died should also have the chance to have their voices heard.

She said: "When I heard the news about what had happened at the Jim Clark Rally I was completely stunned. It's just over a year since mum's death and here we are with three more ­spectators being killed and several more injured.

"When is this going to stop? While I welcome moves by the Scottish Government and the police to review safety at these events, it's a fatal accident inquiry held in open court that will get to the bottom of what happened to my mum and these other victims.

"Having a FAI will also give me and my family the right to ask questions which this government review won't. My family want to be involved, we want our voice to be heard and we want desperately to make sure nobody else loses their lives at a Scottish rally".

The Crown Office has come under fire in the past over the amount of time it takes to hold an FAI in Scotland, with some ­relatives waiting years to get answers about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones.

In January this year the ­families of the 16 victims of the 2009 Super Puma crash in the North Sea spoke of their frustration at the length of time it took for the FAI to begin, after waiting almost five years.

Lawyer Andrew Henderson, who represents Mrs Robson's family and leads the specialist fatal accident unit of Thompsons Solicitors, said :"It's been an ­absolutely traumatic year for Kerry and the rest of her family and what happened in the Borders just over a week ago has really upset them. In what other sport in Scotland could four spectators be killed within 18 months and nothing be done by the authorities? Kerry is right when she says that this has got to stop.

"The announcement of a safety review by the Justice Secretary is welcome but its only through a Fatal Accident Inquiry set up by the Crown Office that we'll be able to get to the bottom of what's happening at these rallies, and most importantly what we can do to stop this happening to anyone else."

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: "The ­Procurator Fiscal has received a report on the death of a 50-year-old woman in Glenurquhart Forest on February 16 2013.

"The investigation into the death, under the direction of ­Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, is ongoing and the family are being kept updated in relation to any significant developments."

Contextual targeting label: 
Transport Tragedy

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