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Police ‘organisational failure’ left couple in crashed car by motorway for three days | UK News

A woman who, along with her partner, lay undiscovered in a crashed car for days probably would have survived, but for “organisational failure” in police call handling procedures, an inquiry has found.

Lamara Bell, 25, and John Yuill, 28, died after their car careered off the M9 near Stirling on 5 July 2015 as they drove back from a camping trip.

They lay in their Renault Clio for three days before being discovered on 8 July, despite police being alerted to the incident.

Mr Yuill, a father-of-five, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Ms Bell, a mother-of-two, died four days later in hospital.

Sheriff James Williamson found in his determination, published following a fatal accident inquiry (FAI), that there was no system of reconciling information recorded by officers in notebooks with action taken.

He said: “The failure of Police Scotland to properly risk assess the call handling procedures and have a system of reconciliation was an organisational failure.”

Police Scotland repeated their apology to the families of the deceased, adding that “significant improvements” have been made to call handling systems since 2015, which are now “incomparable” to the systems in place at that time.

Mr Yuill suffered unsurvivable injuries in the crash, however Ms Bell would probably have lived had she received medical attention on the day of the incident, albeit with long-term neurological problems.

Sheriff Williamson noted the Bilston Glen police call handling centre was under pressure that summer due to staffing shortages, and there was confusion among officers about the tripartite call handling system comprising the Aspire, Avaya and Storm systems.

Police sergeant Brian Henry, now retired, volunteered to do overtime at Bilston Glen, arriving into what the sheriff described as a “confused, fractious working environment”.

File photo dated 9/7/2015 of police officers search the scene at Junction 9 of the M9 after a car was discovered. A crashed car lay undiscovered for days with two people inside after an "organisational failure" in police call handling procedures, a fatal accident inquiry has found. The inquiry also found a police officer who failed to log a call reporting the incident was inadequately trained. Lamara Bell, 25, and John Yuill, 28, died after the car they were in left the M9 near Stirling on July
Image:
Pic: PA

The inquiry heard that on 5 July he took a call from a farmer named John Wilson reporting a car off the road and recorded it in his police notebook, but he failed to log it into the Storm case management system and no action was taken.

Sheriff Williamson found police had not identified the risk that calls may be missed.

He said: “Brian Henry was inadequately trained and left largely unsupervised to operate a system that allowed for human error to go undetected.

“His human error going undetected meant that Lamara Bell was left in a vehicle by the side of a major motorway in Scotland suffering devastating injures.

“These injuries, together with the delay in rescuing and treating her, led to her death.”

The car was discovered on 8 July 2015 after another member of the public rang the police.

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Sheriff Williamson found the incident was not the result of one individual failure by Police Scotland but “more than one and these failures took place over a lengthy period of time, during which the opportunity to resolve them was lost”.

The FAI came after the family of Ms Bell was awarded more than £1 million in damages from Police Scotland in a civil settlement in December 2021.

In September 2021, the force was fined £100,000 at the High Court in Edinburgh after it pleaded guilty to health and safety failings which “materially contributed” to Ms Bell’s death.

Sheriff Williamson said Ms Bell’s suffering over a period of three days, when she was severely injured but conscious, is “almost incomprehensible”.

Trident missile misfired and crashed into ocean during rare test launch | UK News

A Trident missile has misfired and crashed into the ocean off the coast of Florida during a rare test launch by a British nuclear submarine in an embarrassing blow for the Royal Navy.

The Ministry of Defence on Tuesday night confirmed an “anomaly” had occurred with the drill involving HMS Vanguard, but a spokesperson insisted that the nuclear deterrent – the cornerstone of the UK‘s defences – “remains safe, secure and effective”.

The fault had something to do with it being a test-firing, with a source saying that the launch would have been successful had it been carried out for real with a nuclear warhead.

The Sun newspaper first revealed the drama, which happened on 30 January, saying that Defence Secretary Grant Shapps had been onboard the submerged submarine at the time.

It is the second Trident missile failure in a row for the Royal Navy‘s ageing nuclear weapons fleet after a problem with another test-firing in 2016.

The UK has four nuclear-armed submarines that are charged with ensuring one boat is continuously at sea to deter nuclear threats from enemies such as Russia and to be ready to respond should the worst happen and the UK or its allies face a nuclear attack.

Outlining what happened, The Sun said the Trident 2 missile was propelled successfully from under the water into the air by compressed gas in the launch tube.

But its first stage boosters did not ignite and the 60-tonne missile – fitted with dummy warheads – splashed into the Atlantic Ocean and sank.

A source told the newspaper: “It left the submarine but it just went plop, right next to them.”

A search was immediately initiated to recover the highly sensitive munition.

Indicating the gravity of the event, a written ministerial statement is due to be released to parliament at around midday on Wednesday.

Rishi Sunak will also likely be asked about what happened when he faces Prime Minister’s Questions.

HMS Vanguard, which has just completed a £500m overhaul, was undergoing a final round of tests before it returns to nuclear patrols.

The Ministry of Defence spokesperson said, despite the glitch, the submarine and her crew “have been proven fully capable of operating the UK’s Continuous At-Sea Deterrent, passing all tests during a recent demonstration and shakedown operation (DASO) – a routine test to confirm that the submarine can return to service following deep maintenance work”.

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The spokesperson said: “The test has reaffirmed the effectiveness of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, in which we have absolute confidence.

“During the test an anomaly occurred.

“As a matter of national security, we cannot provide further information on this, however we are confident that the anomaly was event specific, and therefore there are no implications for the reliability of the wider Trident missile systems and stockpile.”

Ahead of the launch last month, the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency had issued a warning to shipping that plotted the missile’s expected course to an impact in the mid-Atlantic.

The “hazardous operations” warning said that the missile was expected to travel some 3,700 miles before crashing into the sea between Brazil and west Africa.

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The failed launch came eight years after the Royal Navy last test-fired an unarmed Trident II D5 ballistic missile.

Back in 2016, the missile was launched from HMS Vengeance and flew in the wrong direction.

Defence sources told The Guardian at the time that it did not veer off in the wrong direction because it was faulty but because the information relayed to it was incorrect.

The Trident system has completed more than 190 successful tests during its time in service.

British-built satellite deliberately crashed into Atlantic in world first | UK News

Aeolus, a British-built weather-monitoring satellite, has been deliberately crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

It is the first time a satellite has been guided to perform an assisted crash on Earth, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Aeolus has been providing data to weather centres across Europe since 2018, and was the first satellite mission to acquire profiles of Earth’s wind on a global scale.

It was due to be in orbit for three years but outlasted its mission by almost two more.

The 1,360kg craft was built by Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage.

Aeolus. Pic: European Space Agency
Image:
Pic: European Space Agency

Under normal circumstances, it would have fallen back to Earth naturally, burning up in the planet’s atmosphere after reaching an altitude of about 50 miles.

Instead, it was guided to its final resting place by mission controllers at the ESA, using what little fuel remained onboard.

Aeolus had been falling from its operational altitude since 19 June and performed its first major re-entry manoeuvre on 24 July.

Simulations by the agency suggest some debris may survive the heat of the planet’s atmosphere, although the risk of it causing any damage is said to be small.

The ESA said: “The Aeolus mission control team in Germany is now wrapping up after a long week of complex operations.

“They have done everything they planned in what is a first-of-its-kind assisted re-entry.”

Aeolus. Pic: European Space Agency
Image:
Pic: European Space Agency

Dr Jenifer Millard, an astronomer and co-host of the Awesome Astronomy Podcast, said that “nowadays, when satellites are put up, there has to be some sort of mechanism on board to help them come back through the atmosphere safely”.

Alternatively, they have to “entirely burn up in our atmosphere”, she told Sky News.

Dr Millard said the successful return of Aeolus was a “huge achievement to help us manage space debris”.

About 20% of the craft may have survived re-entry, Dr Millard said, amounting to a few hundred kilogrammes.

It is a boost for the UK space industry, she added.

“We are pioneering, we are world-leading in this,” she said.

Mortgages cost extra £530 per month after Tories ‘crashed’ economy, Labour claims | UK News

Liz Truss’s “disastrous premiership” means British families are spending an extra £530 a month on their mortgage than they were a year ago, Labour has claimed.

The Opposition claims the effects of higher interest rates will be felt by tens of thousands of households for years to come.

Labour’s analysis is based on the current average property price in the UK – which is £295,903 – and assumes there is a 70% mortgage on a 30-year term, meaning £207,132 is being borrowed.

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Annual interest rates stood at 2.25% last October, meaning that the typical monthly repayment in that scenario would have been £791.75.

But when Ms Truss stepped down on Thursday, rates had surged to 6.65% – taking repayments to £1,329.72, an increase of 68%.

Labour’s figures suggest that – over a two-year period – this would be an extra £12,911.06 that households need to find.

According to UK Finance, 1.8 million people will need to secure a new deal next year, which is about 26% of all mortgages.

Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy has warned tens of thousands of households will be paying higher mortgages for years “because the Conservatives crashed the economy”.

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Ms Nandy said: “This is a Tory crisis, made in Downing Street and being paid for by working people … Despite the U-turns, the damage has been done.

“Even now, families are still paying more because the government has lost all credibility. The Tories simply cannot be trusted with the economy.”

Responding to Labour’s analysis, a Treasury spokesperson said: “Growth requires confidence and stability.

“A central responsibility for any government is do what is necessary for economic stability, and we have done so.”

Man found dead in crashed car two days after he was reported missing | UK News

A man’s body has been discovered in a crashed car by police two days after he was reported missing.

John Winton McNab, 86, was the driver of a grey Mercedes B, which was found at about 1.20pm on Sunday 18 September following the incident in the Highlands.

Mr McNab, from Perth, had been reported missing on Friday 16 September, Police Scotland confirmed.

The crash happened on the A887 at Invermoriston and an investigation is now under way.

Mr McNab’s family has thanked all those involved in looking for him.

In a statement released by police, the family said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in the search to trace Winton, these efforts are greatly appreciated by the family.

“We request that our privacy is respected at this sad time.”

The independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has been instructed to investigate his death.

PIRC was told by the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and will report to them.

Police Scotland said it had also referred the incident to PIRC.

The force added that enquiries to establish the full circumstances of what happened were ongoing.

It has urged anyone with information about the crash who has not yet spoken to an officer to contact them by calling 101, quoting reference 1660 of 18 September 2022.