“I went past the crash, not even 100 yards away from her. If anything happens I’ve got to tell myself that.”
Lamara Bell and her partner John Yuill were visiting Loch Earn, Stirlingshire, in a blue Renault Clio on Sunday: their car went off the road Sunday evening.
An “experienced officer” was called at 11:30pm on Sunday night on the 101 non-emergency number by a member of the public who had spotted the car in which Lamara Bell and her partner John Yuill were lying – Yuill possibly already dead, Bell critically injured – down the embankment off the M9 near Stirling.
The “experienced officer” neither entered the call “into systems” nor sent out any message to operational teams in the area.
Eventually another 101 phonecall about the crashed car finally led police to it, shortly before 10am on Wednesday morning 8th July: but Yuill was dead, and Bell was dying.
Thirty years ago:
“At one point the police surrounded a coach and it stopped. A woman inside stood up and held her baby up – in a very melodramatic fashion, you wouldn’t normally hold a baby that way for fear of dropping it. But she did. She yelled at the police that there was a baby on board. “There was a pause of about five seconds, then from the back of the police ranks, whistling over our heads came a very large flint that exploded the windscreen over the baby.” Yet that was not the worst thing [the Earl of Cardigan] says he saw that day. “At some point in the crazy melee there was a heavily pregnant woman wandering around. Two policemen came up behind her with batons and clubbed her around the head and shoulders, and down she went.”
These were travellers going to the Stonehenge Solstice festival in 1985, attacked by the Wiltshire Police. The police attacked the convoy using “police tactics used in the miners’ strike to prevent a breach of the peace” (such as mounted South Yorkshire Police attacking picketing miners in Orgreave, on 18th June 1984).
Ten years ago, in 2005, Tony Thompson, the Guardian’s crime correspondent, wrote with apparently sincere bafflement:
It remains a mystery why the police felt compelled to use such violence. With evidence that radio logs of conversations between officers on the day have been altered, the full story may never be known.