Rally deaths probe ongoing

Police and safety inspectors are still probing the deaths of three spectators at the Jim Clark Rally earlier this year, writes Bob Burgess.

Once that is completed the Crown Office will decide whether there should be any prosecutions and the Lord Advocate will decide whether to order a fatal accident inquiry.

Partners Iain Provan, 64, and Betty Allan, 63, from Barrhead, were killed alongside Len Stern, 71, of Bearsden, when they were struck by an out-of-control rally car at Little Swinton on May 31.

A 61-year-old man was seriously injured. Two hours earlier at Eccles, six rally fans were injured when another vehicle left the road.

The deaths and injuries prompted Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to order two safety probes on top of the police investigations into the crashes – one on motor sports and one by Police Scotland into all major spectator events, including common ridings.

A spokesman for the Crown Office told The Southern: “The investigation into the deaths by Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive, under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s Health and Safety Division and the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, is ongoing. The families will be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”

On the wider event safety probe, a spokesman for the Scottish Government told us: “The review was to ensure that robust safety regimes and risk-assessment procedures were in place. Police Scotland completed the review and – as evidenced by the successful safety and security operation around the Commonwealth Games – they were satisfied with planning arrangements.”

Meanwhile, the group looking only at motor sport safety has had its first meeting. The spokesman said:“Ministers have asked for interim recommendations prior to the Isle of Mull Rally on October 10-12, with final recommendations by December.”