A grieving woman who killed the “love of her life” by running him over with her car has avoided a prison sentence.
Grace Ross, 21, struck Joshua Kerr close to the farm where he worked in Leslie, near Glenrothes, Fife on May 22, 2020.
The 18-year-old never survived having suffered a catastrophic head injury.
Prosecutor Gavin Anderson told the High Court in Glasgow in June how the couple had been together for three years.
They had an argument before the incident over Joshua’s finances including what was described as a “cash app” on his phone.
On Monday, Ross, of Glenrothes, Fife, appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh for sentencing having plead guilty earlier this year to a charge of causing Joshua’s death by careless driving.
Her lawyer Donald Findlay QC told judge Lord Braid that she was genuinely remorseful for causing Mr Kerr’s death.
Mr Findlay also told the judge that his client had suffered post traumatic stress disorder from seeing her boyfriend die.
He urged Lord Braid not to send Ross to jail saying it was in the public interest for another disposal to be given to her.
Lord Braid agreed and ordered Ross to perform 300 hours community service.
He said that he had to take into account sentencing guidelines for people aged under 25 – these state that accused young people should only be sent to prison if no other sentence is available.
Lord Braid also concluded that the circumstances of the collision and its aftermath meant that Ross could be dealt with by a community payback order.
Passing sentence, Lord Braid told Ross: “You stopped your car, got out of the vehicle and contacted the emergency services. You administered first aid to Mr Kerr.
“I have read Victim Impact Statements which describe the loss and void which have been left in the lives of Mr Kerr’s family and friends.
“There is no sentence that I can pass which can ever fill that.
“I have also taken into account the remorse that you expressed which I accept is genuine.
“You are also aged 21 so I must take into account Scottish Sentencing Council Guidelines for people of your age into account.
“I have also taken into account the submissions made by your counsel.
“I have come to the view that there is a suitable alternative to imprisonment. I will impose a community payback order of 300 hours unpaid work which will have to be completed within 18 months.”
A female relative of Mr Kerr did not agree with Lord Braid’s sentencing and shouted: “She’s a murderer and I hate her.”
At earlier proceedings, prosecutor Gavin Anderson told the court of how it was Ross’s “suspicion” that the farmhand was hiding things from her.
The advocate depute: “She said she was coming to the farm unless he handed over the code to the cash app.”
Ross then turned up around 11am that morning.
It was there she got hold of Joshua’s phone and got back into her Vauxhall Corsa.
Ross initially accelerated harshly – her boyfriend was not in front of the vehicle at the time.
She then went on to do a three-point turn on the narrow road and investigators reckon Ross was travelling at just 2.3mph before she then hit the Raith Rovers fan.
Mr Anderson added: “He was struck by the front offside which caused him to fall and then be under the car.
“Once he was lying on his back, both of the offside wheels went over him.
“One left a tyre tread imprint on his trousers as it passed over his leg.
“The rear offside wheel ran over his head and caused a significant skull fracture – the injury was incompatible with life.”
A hysterical Ross immediately leapt out the motor screaming and rushed to help the teenager before dialling 999.
Joshua never recovered from his injuries.
Ross begged police who arrived that she wanted to give her boyfriend “one last hug”, but was stopped from doing so.
She told officers: “He jumped in front of me and I hit him. We had a fight and I came up to see him.
“When I tried to leave, he jumped in front of me and I hit him.”
It also emerged her concerns about the app were said to be “unfounded”.
Ross initially appeared in the dock days after the incident charged with Joshua’s murder.
When the case first called at the high court last October, she was instead accused of causing death by dangerous driving before pleading guilty to the lesser charge last June.
On Monday, Mr Findlay described the case as being “tragic at all levels” and expressed his condolences to Joshua’s family.
He said that Ross – who was set to study politics at university before the collision – had been “deeply affected” by the incident and had suffered PTSD.
He added: “Ms Ross continues to grieve for the loss of her boyfriend, her partner, for the love of her life.
“She has never been anything other than deeply sorry for the events that happened that day.
“This is a case which I would invite your lordship to consider why it would serve the public interest in depriving this young woman of her liberty.
“She is 21 years of age. She has her whole life in front of her.”
Lord Braid then handed Ross a Community Payback Order. He also banned Ross from driving for five years.
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