A legal bid by Glasgow City Council to recover more than £6.5m from a former employer of a bin lorry driver who blacked out at the wheel and killed six people has failed.

Harry Clarke collapsed in December 2014 while driving a 26-tonne truck in Glasgow city centre before it veered out of control and crashed into pedestrians.

Settlements totalling £6,555,872 were later paid out to those injured and the families of those killed.

Lawyers for the council argued that Clarke’s former employer First Glasgow (No 1) had acted negligently by failing to provide a reference for Clarke when he changed his job in 2011.

They said Clarke had been absent from work due to illness following an incident in April 2010 when he lost consciousness in the bus he was driving.

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However, in his judgment, Lord Ericht threw the action out and said the council had failed to chase First Glasgow for the reference.

He said the evidence showed that a former manager of Clarke’s at First Glasgow called Frank McCann had said an HR employee called Darryl Turner needed to be contacted for a reference: “There was no evidence from the Pulse system, spreadsheet, emails or any other source that anyone from the pursuer had acted on the information received from Mr Clarke that a reference would require to be requested from Mr Turner rather than Mr McCann, and emailed or otherwise contacted Mr Turner requesting a reference,” he said.

“I find that no reference was received from Mr Turner.”

In 2015 the Crown Office said it would not prosecute Clarke because “there was insufficient evidence that it was foreseeable that he would lose consciousness whilst driving that day”.