POLICE Scotland called M9 crash victim Lamara Bell’s mobile phone ten days after she died and left a message asking her to call them, her family has revealed.
Ms Bell, 25, and her partner John Yuill, 28, lay for three days in car which had come off the motorway near Stirling on 5 July after police failed to respond to a message from a member of the public on the day of the incident.
Ms Bell died in hospital a week later while Mr Yuill was found dead at the scene.
Yesterday Ms Bell’s brother, Martin Bell wrote on Facebook that a senior officer visited the family to apologise in advance after a voicemail message was left on her phone. Ms Bell’s mobile phone is being kept by police.
It is understood the call was made on 21 July by an officer regarding the whereabouts of another family member.
Last night, Deputy First Minister John Swinney, when asked by The Scotsman if it was time Sir Stephen House, Chief Constable of Police Scotland, resigned over the blunders in the case, said: “Our thoughts are with the families of both Lamara Bell and John Yuill. It is deeply disappointing that Police Scotland has caused Ms Bell’s family further distress and it is right that they have apologised for their actions.
“Scottish ministers have made clear they have confidence in the chief constable and his leadership of Police Scotland.”
Earlier Chief Superintendent John Hawkins, Forth Valley Divisional Commander, said: “Once again I want to offer Police Scotland’s condolences to the Bell family.
“I am deeply disappointed that we have shown such a lack of awareness given all the briefings put in place within Forth Valley area and the media coverage reflecting the level of shock felt across the country. We clearly regret having caused any further upset to them.
“I have given all the details to the Bell family of why the call was made and given my, and the chief constable’s, sincere apologies on behalf of the force.”
Last night a Police Scotland spokeswoman, when asked why they wanted to speak to Ms Bell, said: “The incident under investigation was an alleged crime by a third party.”
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has admitted police “failed both families” over its handling of the initial incident.
The police investigations and review commissioner has begun an independent investigation into the circumstances.
Scotland’s justice secretary Michael Matheson has formally directed Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) to undertake an urgent review of all police call handling following the incident.
Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said: “Someone, either in government or the police, must take responsibility for all this.”