Police in Scotland face a backlash today after it was revealed a dead man and a seriously injured woman were not found until three days after officers were told a car had crashed near a busy motorway.
An investigation has been launched into the police failure to follow up reports of the accident which is believed to have involved John Yuill, 28, and 25-year-old Lamara Bell.
The couple had been reported missing to police after last being seen in the company of friends in the Loch Earn area of Stirlingshire in a blue Clio in the early hours of Sunday.
Police confirmed they received a call on Sunday morning about a car which was off the road, but did not follow up the report. However, on Monday, Police Scotland appealed for information about Yuill and Bell's whereabouts, saying their disappearance was "completely out of character". They also released a picture of their car.
Two days later, on Wednesday, Police Scotland said officers were called to the M9, near Stirling, following a report that a Renault Clio had gone off the road.
The male driver of the car was pronounced dead at the scene, while his female passenger was taken to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, where she remains in a critical condition.
Yuill's father, Gordon Yuill, has reportedly said that the police's failure to attend the crash would not have made any difference to his son as he is understood to have died instantly, but "I feel it may have made a difference for Lamara".
Her father, Ossie, said the failure meant his daughter lay injured for three days unnecessarily.
"Now my daughter is laying on life support. All I can ask from everybody is help tonight. Tell her to wake up," The Mail Online reports.
Assistant Chief Constable Kate Thomson, of Local Policing East, said: ''It has come to light that a call was made to police late on Sunday morning regarding a car which was reported as being off the road. For reasons currently being investigated, that report was not followed up at the time.
''Officers have notified the families of this update. Our thoughts are with both families at this difficult time.
''A full investigation is currently under way to establish the full circumstances of the incident.''
The matter has been referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner by the Crown Office (Pirc) who are now investigating "the circumstances surrounding" the crash.
The BBC reported that the couple are reportedly from the Falkirk area, and that a friend of Yuill's had described him on Facebook as a "great guy and a brilliant dad".
Assistant Chief Constable Kate Thomson of Police Scotland said that both Yuill and Bell's families had been notified about "this update", adding "out thoughts are with both families at this time".