Fatal crash driver told doctor 'he had no history of blackouts'

A DRIVER who ploughed into two girls and killed them shortly before Christmas told a doctor he had no history of blackouts, a fatal accident inquiry was told.

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William Payne was driving his 4x4 on December 17, 2010, down North Hanover street in Glasgow city centre, when he collided with Mhairi Convy, 18, and Laura Stewart, 20.

He also injured Mark Hopwood, 39, who was thrown on to the road but survived.

Today at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Dr Gordon Duff, who carried out a medical examination on Mr Payne in July 2010 gave evidence at an inquiry into the deaths of Miss Convy and Miss Stewart.

Dr Duff, an occupational physician, carried out medical examinations on those who hold HGV licences.

The hearing was told Mr Payne had an HGV licence and had to be checked out.

Dr Duff told the inquiry there were two types of examination, one for people who are applying for the first time and another for drivers who are repeating an examination.

He explained drivers are examined every five years until the age of 65, then annually.

He said: "In Mr Payne's case this was a renewal medical because at that time he was 50 so he was up for his five year renewal."

The doctor explained as part of the form that is filled in there are different conditions - including fits or blackouts - that can affect driving and the applicant has to disclose if they have suffered from anything.

The inquiry was also told they are asked if they have attended their doctor or a hospital for any reason not on the list.

Procurator fiscal depute Jim Graham, put to the witness that Mr Payne claimed at the time, he had no history of blackouts or loss of consciousness over the past five years.

Dr Duff replied: "That's correct."

He was asked if he decided who was medically fit after an examination and said: "No, my only role is to take a medical snapshot of any individual."

Mr Graham asked: "If blackouts were flagged up DVLA would have pursued that?" and Dr Duff said: "Absolutely."

He added: "I had nothing to inform DVLA about."

The inquiry was told examiners have no access to medical records for an individual, only the information the applicant discloses.

During cross-examination by Dorothy Bain QC - representing both families - Dr Duff said: "I have often thought it might be useful if I sent a copy of the examination form to the individuals own doctor."

The hearing before sheriff Andrew Normand continues.

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