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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 12:56 GMT
Road death inquiries plea denied
Gillian Curran
Ms Curran died after a vehicle hit her stationary car
MSPs have rejected a call for fatal accident inquiries (FAIs) to be held for all careless driving deaths.

However, the Crown Office revealed it has ordered an FAI into the death of 24-year-old Gillian Curran who was killed in a collision two years ago.

Ms Curran's parents collected an 11,000 signature petition demanding that FAIs be held for all similar cases.

MSPs on the justice committee agreed with the lord advocate who has ruled out mandatory inquiries.

Ms Curran, from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, died when her stationary car was hit from behind by another vehicle.

I don't see why they want to put another family through two years and three months of what we've been through.
Sandra Curran

The other driver was convicted of careless driving but by law the sheriff was unable to take her death into account.

Holding inquiries after all similar deaths would bring Scotland more into line with the English system, where inquests are held.

However, Lord Advocate Colin Boyd said such inquiries were only useful where a broader failure or deficiency might be an issue.

The MSPs on the justice committee said they would write to the lord advocate calling for the families of victims to be kept better informed about proceedings.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Curran's mother, Sandra, said: "They say they don't want a fatal accident inquiry to be mandatory.

"I don't see why they want to put another family through two years and three months of what we've been through.

Scene of car crash
The family called for mandatory inquiries into all road deaths

"We've had no time to reflect on what actually happened to our family because we've been fighting so hard.

"A fatal accident inquiry will go into the facts of what happened that night, but will it recognise that there was a victim?"

She said she was disappointed at the decision to close the petition.

"We're only here to make sure that people like Gillian are recognised. If that's not through a fatal accident inquiry, then please help us," she added.

Mrs Curran sat with a picture of her daughter on her lap throughout Wednesday's meeting.

"We take a picture with us to let people see she did exist," she said. "As long as I've got a breath in my body, my daughter will go everywhere with me."

'More sympathetic'

Scottish National Party west of Scotland MSP Bruce McFee said: "Our system should be more sympathetic to the victims. If the relatives want to have one, then I think it should be granted."

Convener Pauline McNeill said: "Although we don't support the terms of the petition we are concerned about the alternative forums for the family to get information about the circumstances."

Mrs Curran and her husband Pat gave evidence to the public petitions committee last May.

They won the backing of MSPs Linda Fabiani, Donald Gorrie, Alex Neil and Elaine Smith, as well as MP Tom Clarke.

The lord advocate said that FAIs are not held in order to recognise deaths, but to look into any circumstances of a fatality which may pose an ongoing danger to people.

The FAI into Ms Curran's death will take place at Hamilton Sheriff Court on 5 June.

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