Sheriff praises farmer who found accident victims uncovered for three days

A farmer who discovered a couple whose car had fallen off the M9 has been praised for his actions after climbing down a steep embankment to help them.

A fatal accident investigation (FAI) into the deaths of Lamara Bell, 25, and John Yuill, 28, is currently taking place at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

The couple died when the car Mr Yuill was driving crashed on Sunday 5 July 2015.

Miss Bell and Mr Yuill were returning from a camping trip when their car crashed on the M9 at the junction with the M80 eastbound.

The car was not discovered for three days after a police room operator failed to record a 101 call reporting the crash.

Local farmer Robert Findlay, now 66, told the inquest on Friday how he spotted “a blue object” in a wooded area off the M9 while returning to his farm at around 10am on Wednesday July 8.

A little later, he drove back from the area and had a clearer view of the blue object.

Moving closer, Mr. Findlay could see that it was a car.

To get closer, Mr Findlay had to climb down a “steep” embankment and over two fences.

When he approached the car, he saw Mr. Yule and Miss Bell inside.

Mr Findlay said: “When he heard me coming he was calling for help.”

Solicitor Gavin Anderson asked Mr Findlay: “What was it that you heard her say?”

Mr Findlay said: “(He was saying) Please help me, help me out.”

Mr Findlay also told the inquest that Miss Bell appeared “disoriented” and drifted in and out of consciousness.

Mr Anderson asked Mr Findlay if he “observed anything about the condition of the car”.

Mr Finlay said it was “quite battered” and the windows were “all broken”.

Mr Findlay then had to climb back onto the motorway embankment to call the police as he tried to get a phone signal.

The inquest then heard how Mr Findlay reassured Miss Bell and told her help was on the way.

When emergency services arrived, Mr Findlay returned home.

After concluding his evidence, Sheriff James Williamson praised Mr Findlay for his actions on the day of the crash.

He told Mr Findlay: “Thank you for coming today and let me commend you on your actions.

“It must have been a terrible scene. It was no small risk to yourself.'

Later on Friday, the inquest heard a second agreed joint report detailing Mr Yuill's cause of death.

Elaine Smith KC, junior counsel for the inquest, said she had died as a result of severe head trauma and would only live for 35 minutes after the impact.

The investigation continues.