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Father of Clutha victim does not expect justice from FAI

Ian O'Prey, who lost son Mark in the 2013 tragedy, hopes to learn the truth behind what happened.

The father of a Clutha victim does not expect justice from the fatal accident inquiry into the disaster.

However, Ian O'Prey, who lost son Mark, 44, in the 2013 tragedy, hopes to learn the truth behind what happened on the night the helicopter plunged into a packed Glasgow pub's roof, killing ten.

Clutha: The helicopter crashed into the pub in 2013.
Clutha: The helicopter crashed into the pub in 2013.

On Tuesday, ahead of the second preliminary hearing into the accident, Mr O'Prey told STV News: "I hope something worthwhile comes out of it. It's a steeplechase, not a hurdle we've got to go over.

"See if we can get some truth. I don't expect any justice, but if we can get some truth that would be nice."

'I don't expect any justice, but if we can get some truth that would be nice'
Ian O'Prey, father of Clutha victim Mark O'Prey

Ten people died after a Police Scotland helicopter crashed into the Clutha Vaults at around 10.30pm on Friday, November 29, 2013.

Pilot David Traill and crew members constable Tony Collins and constable Kirsty Nelis were killed along with seven customers at the bar; John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Joe Cusker.

Funeral: Mark O'Prey was laid to rest.
Funeral: Mark O'Prey was laid to rest. SWNS

A UK Department for Transport air accidents investigation branch report published in 2015 found two fuel supply switches were off and the pilot did not follow emergency procedures after a fuel warning in the cockpit.

The chopper was operated by Bond Air Services, now owned by Babcock, which bought the firm in a £920m deal that included liability for compensation payouts. More than £1m has since been paid out in compensation to those affected by the accident.

Accident: The helicopter being removed from the site.
Accident: The helicopter being removed from the site.

The Crown Office previously stated there was insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings and announced in August that a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) would be held in April 2019.

The first preliminary hearing was held in October. At the second hearing on Tuesday at Hampden Park, sheriff principal Craig Turnbull said: "The inquiry will commence on Monday, April 8 and will sit on April 8 until 10 then adjourn until April 17."

He listed the dates that it will sit including through the full months of July and August, with exception of July 15. The hearing was told that beyond August, the dates will be revisited nearer the time.

At the outset of the hearing, the names of those who tragically died were read out.

Advocate depute Sean Smith QC said that before the inquiry starts, the Crown intend to narrow down their current witness list and is working on separating evidence that will be lead in to different chapters.

The hearing was told that some of those being represented at the inquiry are waiting on legal aid being confirmed.

Sheriff Principal Turnbull set a further hearing in January for those with outstanding legal aid applications to update the court. He ordered that documents are lodged by deadlines set, and that the next preliminary hearing will take place in February 2019.

Mr O'Prey criticised the length of time it has taken for the FAI to be heard and believes those who lost their lives in the tragedy have been seen as insignificant.

'I think the helicopter is going to be the star again and the people are secondary'
Ian O'Prey, father of Clutha victim Mark O'Prey

Mr O'Prey stated: "The helicopter's the star in this disaster and that's why I think it's taken so long.

"I said from day one the helicopter was the main object in this than the people who died.

"If we can get to the bottom of it - but I think the helicopter is going to be the star again and the people are secondary.

"At last it's happening, but why five years? Five years is just ridiculous.

"We've been lied to from day one and I don't think we're the first family to suffer from authorities."

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