A motorcyclist and a car driver whose driving at “grossly excessive” speeds resulted in a five-vehicle collision that cost a woman her life have each been jailed for more than four years.
Ashley Sadler, 41, was caught on camera travelling at up to 118 mph on a Honda CBR 1000 Fireblade motorbike shortly before the crash that led to the death of Fiona Reid.
Co-accused Daniel De Monerri, 38, was driving a Volkswagen Golf R and reached 90 mph before the fatal collision of the A7066 road at Bathgate, in West Lothian, which claimed the life of the mother-of-one.
A judge at the High Court in Edinburgh told the pair that the excessive high speed at which they were both driving resulted in “catastrophic consequences” and the death of a woman who was “entirely blameless”.
Lord Weir said: “No sentence I can pass can ever compensate for the loss of a loved one.”
The judge said he took into account the expressions of remorse by both men as he jailed Sadler for four and a half years and De Monerri for four years and two months.
He banned Sadler from driving for 87 months and disqualified De Monerri for 80 months and told them they would be required to sit extended tests before driving again.
Production manager Sadler, of Thirlfield Wynd, and engineer De Monerri, of Mallard Brae, both Livingston, West Lothian, earlier admitted causing the death of Mrs Reid by driving dangerously at grossly excessive speeds on July 6 in 2020.
They repeatedly switched lanes, drove in close proximity to each other and other road users while travelling at excessive speed.
Prosecutor Alex Prentice KC told the court: “Fiona Reid was 37 years old at the time of her death. She was married to Robert Reid and they have a daughter who was seven at the time of her mother’s death.”
The court heard that prior to the fatal collision another motorist had pulled out onto the right hand lane of the dual carriageway to allow the car being driven by Mrs Reid to enter the A7066 from a slip road.
But Sadler’s motorbike struck the car that had gone into the right-hand lane and De Monerri then came upon the collision and hit another motorcycle before losing control of the VW Golf and crashing into Mrs Reid’s Audi.
Mr Prentice said: “The force of the collision resulted in Fiona Reid’s seat to be broken and she was propelled backwards suffering a catastrophic head injury from which she died.”
The prosecutor said that shortly before the fatal crash another driver had seen two motorbikes, including the Honda Fireblade, and Mr De Monerri’s car in a layby before they left together.
He said: “In the minutes leading up to the collision numerous witnesses saw the two motorbikes and the red Golf driving at and near the A7066. These vehicles were travelling in excess of the speed limit and were repeatedly switching lanes.”
An employee at a branch of Screwfix heard the motorbikes and said they were “absolutely gunning it”. Others in the car park turned to look at them passing because of the noise and speed.
Mr Prentice said: “The red Honda CBR 1000 R Fireblade motorcycle is classed as a sports bike and is a powerful high performance motorcycle capable of rapid acceleration reaching 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.”
Another car driver, Beata Jaromin, was ahead of them on the road when she saw Mrs Reid’s vehicle coming to join the dual carriageway from the slip road.
Mr Prentice said: “She checked the left mirror, interior mirror and right mirror and indicated to change lane to let the deceased’s car enter the A7066. She entered the right-hand lane and did not notice any vehicles or motorbikes behind her when she checked her mirrors.”
But she then felt a bump as Sadler’s powerful motorbike struck her car and he came off the motorcycle. De Monerri immediately came on the scene and because of his speed had no time to avoid a collision with a second motorcyclist.
Airbags in his vehicle deployed and he lost control of the car which collided with Mrs Reid’s vehicle.
Defence counsel Tony Lenehan KC said that from a background report prepared on Sadler the court knew that he was “a decent, hard-working, family man devastated to know he played a part in the loss of another person’s life”.
He said the offence was devoid of common aggravations such as drink, drugs, flight or dishonesty in a bid to avoid capture.
He said of Sadler: “He is of good character. There is no offending record. He is a father and husband. In terms of his part in these tragic events he played a contributory link one step removed from the fatal impact.”
Solicitor advocate Ewen Roy, for De Monerri, said: “I have to accept on his behalf that if he had been travelling at a safe and normal speed this accident would not have happened.”
He said the father has expressed remorse and victim empathy and added: “He is quoted in the (background) report as saying ‘I have taken a mother away from her daughter and I need to live with that’.”