Photoflash Coaches cleared over Grammar crash

The agony of her bereaved family following the death of Lanark Grammar pupil Natasha Paton on a school trip nearly four years ago has only been made worse by a report apparently clearing a Carluke coach firm of any responsibility.
Always remembered...tragic Natasha PatonAlways remembered...tragic Natasha Paton
Always remembered...tragic Natasha Paton

Last week a Traffic Commissioner’s report appeared to absolve coach operator Photoflash of any blame for the March 2010 tragedy in which the 17-year-old Cleghorn girl was killed and 32 others injured.

Their coach plunged off a bridge and landed in a burn near Wiston on a snowy morning.

Last year’s Fatal Accident Inquiry at Lanark Sheriff Court found that driver Raymond Munro had been driving too fast for the road conditions, adding that Natasha might have survived had she been wearing her seatbelt.

After that the Traffic Commissioner looked into the technical background, finding last week that Photoflash’s standard of maintenance of the coach had been satisfactory.

This was reported in the national media as Photoflash being “cleared’ of any responsibilty for the accident.

However, the solicitor acting for Natasha’s family, David Wilson, has now told the Gazette that this just rekindled the family’s pain rather than give them any ‘closure’.

For more on this story pick up a copy of this week’s Carluke and Lanark Gazette which is in the shops now.