The Fatal Accident Inquiry into an HGV lorry crash which killed a 55-year-old woman in her Fairlie home found that there were no reasonable steps that could have been taken to prevent her death.

On Thursday, February 14 2013, Catherine Bonner died when a lorry belonging to Robert Thompson and Son, a haulage company in Carluke, crashed into the gable end of a block of flats, also injuring Catherine's partner Jim McColl.

Driver George Marshall was charged in December 2013 with dangerous driving, but in May 2015, Lord Advocate of Scotland Frank Mulholland QC, decided that 'there would be no further criminal proceedings at this time' in relation to Mr Marshall.

Medical evidence presented at the inquiry found that Mr Marshall had suffered from effects linked to 'cough syncopy' at the wheel of the lorry - a condition which can lead to loss of consciousness after a severe bout of coughing due to reduced blood reaching the heart and the brain.

Mr Marshall addressed the fatal accident inquiry as the last witness of the inquiry on Wednesday morning at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

He held an HGV Licence for 32 years and had worked for Robert Thomson and Son, Carluke, in terms of road haulage, and drove on average 2500 km per week, but has not returned to lorry driving since the accident.

On the morning of the tragedy on February 14 2013, Mr Marshall started work at 6.30am.

The coal lorry had been loaded up in Forth, Lanarkshire at around 11am, and was heading along through Fairlie on the the A78 to Hunterston during the early afternoon.

Mr Marshall stated that due to regular police activity in the area, he was mindful to keep his speed at 30mph in the built up area, and remembered coughing beforehand.

Asked by the fiscal if he could remember seeing the bend in the road, Mr Marshall replied: "I could see the church building before the bend and then a split second later the house was before me, and there was a large bang. I put on the brakes but it was far too late."

On the opening day of the inquiry, eyewitness William McCrindle recalled how the lorry didn't take the bend and instead went straight on ploughing into the block of flats known as Curneil Villa.

Mr Marshall stated that he recalled being taken out of the lorry by somebody after the accident and then being taken to hospital, receiving treatment for cuts before being released.

He told the inquiry his heavy goods licence and driving licence had been removed by the DVLA following the accident.

Dr John Paul Leach, a consultant neurologist prepared a report on HGV lorry driver George Marshall, and stated that there was no findings of any sleep deprivation or neurological problems in relation to the driver.

He stated that Mr Marshall's recollection of the onset of coughing was described as 'fairly rapid' and led to him briefly losing consciousness, and he came to just before the impact of the lorry crashing into the house.

The doctor added that Mr Marshall tried to take action to avert the crash, and also hit his head against the cabin window on impact, but he believed that this didn't cause the period of unconsciousness. Dr Leach stated that Mr Marshall had never experienced any similar episode in the past, or since, but did suffer from regular coughing, having been a regular smoker.

Dr Leach said: "Mr Marshall has a medical history which is largely unremarkable."

The doctor stated that neurological checks were carried out in relation to whether there were any abnormalities, in terms of the brain and spine, and stated: "Everything was normal, and there is no suggestion of any respiratory or cardiac problems."

The incident which Mr Marshall suffered at the wheel was related to cough syncope which results in a reduction of the blood flow to the heart and the brain, and can result in a loss of consciousness, the pathologist stated.

Asked by the crown, Procurator Fiscal Ms Dunipace, if on the balance of probabilities whether cough syncope was the most likely scenario behind Mr Marshall's experience, Dr Leach stated it was most likely given the description of what had happened, and stated that it can result in a 'brief loss of consciousness'.

When Ms Dunipace pointed out that it had been described in court by Dr. Bloomfield as an 'explosive bout of coughing', Dr Leach replied: "That wasn't how it was described to me but it was severe coughing."

And asked whether it was of his professional opinion that Mr Marshall had lost consciousness at the wheel, Dr Leach replied: "From the information available, that would appear to be the case, yes."

Dr Leach stated that there was 'no inconsistency, or any sense of elaboration or exaggeration' from Mr Marshall in terms of his recollections and medical evidence provided.

Asked by defence solicitor Ann Bonomy, representing both Mr Marshall and Robert Thomson and Son, if it was fair to say that Mr Marshall had no reason to suspect he would suffer from such a problem, Dr Leach responded: "It is fair to say that he had had some problems with coughing but there was nothing to suggest at any time before of anything that could have been done previously."

It was also revealed at the inquiry that Ms Bonner suffered from high blood pressure, and heart disease - a pathologist's report at the Fatal Accident Inquiry stated that the building collapse would also have caused sudden stress to Catherine Bonner impacting on her heart condition, contributing to her death.

Sheriff McDonald extended her sympathy to the family of Ms Bonner in such tragic circumstances, and stated that she hoped the inquiry had served a useful purpose to gain an exact course of events in relation to the tragedy.

She said: "I couldn't find any identifiable steps which can be recommended which are not already in place and simply conclude by offering my condolences to the families of Ms Bonner and Mr McColl."