Tragic binman Maurice Willis hailed a hero

Binman Maurice Willis (inset) was killed after an accident that saw his bin lorry crash into Hawes Pier, South Queensferry.

Binman Maurice Willis (inset) was killed after an accident that saw his bin lorry crash into Hawes Pier, South Queensferry.

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A Binman killed by his runaway lorry was today hailed a hero for preventing anyone else being injured.

Driver Maurice Willis, 58, watched in horror as he saw the lorry roll away after he got out of it at the Hawes Inn, South Queensferry, and desperately tried to stop it.

Maurice Willis who was named locally as the man who was crushed by his own bin lorry in South Queensferry.

Maurice Willis who was named locally as the man who was crushed by his own bin lorry in South Queensferry.

Mr Willis is thought to have been attempting to climb back into the cab of the moving red Biffa truck when he became trapped between it and a stone pillar at the rear car park of the pub.

The seven-ton lorry then hit a parked Jaguar before rolling across the main road and mounting the pavement at the busy tourist spot.

It then smashed through fencing beside the Inchcolm Ferry ticket office before coming to rest hanging over the edge of Hawes Pier.

Staff from the pub rushed to Mr Willis aid , but he later died in hospital.

Accident investigators will be looking at whether a handbrake failure caused the tragedy, which happened at about 1.15pm on Saturday.

Tributes were paid on social media to Mr Willis, known as Mo, who lived in South Queensferry.

His son Paul Willis posted: “Yesterday the toughest, wisest and bravest man I’ve ever known was taken from us. I learned so many life lessons from you dad. Sleep well you gentle giant.” Several bouquets of flowers were laid at the spot where the accident happened.

Councillor for the area, Norman Work, said: “It’s a tragic ­accident. It appears that the driver was trying to prevent the accident from happening.

“It’s tragic but could have been a lot worse. We are grateful no-one else was injured, because it’s a very busy area round the whole promenade.”

Biffa said employees were shocked at his death, adding that the firm would carry out an investigation. A spokesman said: “We send our heartfelt condolences to the family and close friends. Naturally, we will work with the police to try and understand the circumstances behind the incident.”

Sergeant Brian Smith, from Police Scotland, said: “This tragic accident happened as the driver tried to stop his lorry from rolling out of the car park of the Hawes Inn.Although this is a busy road, with a number of pedestrians in the area at the time, fortunately no one else was injured.”