A CAR smash on Waverley Bridge which killed a church minister was witnessed by the driver’s daughter, it emerged today.
Reverend Tom Sinclair, 76, a commissioner attending the General Assembly this week, was killed after being struck by a reversing Vauxhall Astra.
After Rev Sinclair was knocked down, eyewitnesses said the driver’s daughter told onlookers that her father had a “heart problem and needed a walking stick”.
Tributes have been paid to the minister, who died minutes after the Assembly finished for the day just after 5pm on Monday.
Mr Sinclair, originally from Glasgow, was clerk to the presbytery of Lewis for more than 30 years, and is survived by his wife, Pam and son Jonathan, 43, who lives in Edinburgh.
Witnesses said he was struck after the motorist tried to drive into the station only to find his way blocked by Network Rail’s controversial security barriers.
Police said inquiries into the circumstances of the crash were continuing, while Network Rail said it was aiding the investigation. Helen Milburn, from Leith, who works in the City Art Centre cafe in Market Street, witnessed the collision as she went to catch a bus.
She said: “I heard a scream and crash and turned to see the whole thing about 20 feet away. The car reversed out of the station and struck the guy, he backed over him and hit an Airlink bus on the other side of the road.”
Amid the screams of passers-by, the mother-of-two said a woman at the side of the road shouted that it was her father involved.
She added: “A group of us tried to dissuade her from getting any closer because the guy was in a bad way, but we then realised her father was the driver. She was saying how he had a heart problem and needed a walking stick.”
Rev Sinclair and his family were remembered in prayers at the start of the Assembly yesterday.
The Moderator, the Rt Rev John Chalmers, said: “The news of Tom’s death in such tragic circumstances came as a terrible shock to the General Assembly. Tom Sinclair loved the Church of Scotland and loved General Assembly, we mourn his loss and we commend his wife and family to the care of the community of faith and to the grace God.
“Tom’s death is a painful tragedy for his wife and family and will come as real blow to the presbytery of Lewis, which he was still serving as presbytery clerk.”
Rev Sinclair entered the ministry after studying at Trinity College Glasgow. He completed his probation in Aberdeen Holburn Central, and his first parish was Scourie in Sutherland.
He later moved to Martin’s Memorial, Stornoway, in the 1970s, where he served for almost 30 years.
The accident happened outside the main vehicle entrance to the station opposite the pick-up point for the Airlink bus, and the scene was quickly surrounded by emergency vehicles.
The security barriers were down on Monday in the aftermath of the tragedy and remained lowered yesterday.
A police spokesman said: “Police are continuing to investigate the fatal road traffic collision which took place at Waverley Bridge on Monday, and are appealing for any witnesses to contact them on 101.
“A report is currently being prepared for submission to the procurator fiscal.”