A businessman accused of killing a pensioner by driving dangerously wept as he told a court he has been left “devastated’ by the crash.
Vincent Friel, 44, told a jury he has been “deeply affected” by the collision, which took place near Silverburn Shopping Centre in Glasgow on January 18, 2014.
The High Court in Edinburgh has heard how Friel’s Range Rover struck cousins Charlotte Collins and Margaret Haldane as they made their way across Barrhead Road.
The court has heard how Ms Collins, of Potterhill Road, Glasgow, died in the hours following the collision while Ms Haldane, of London, needed emergency treatment for her injuries.
On Monday, Friel, of Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, broke down as he gave his account of events to defence advocate Ian Duguid QC.
He said: “I’m just devastated. It has affected me greatly. I can’t believe any of this. It could have been my own mother.”
Friel was giving evidence on the fifth day of proceedings against him. He denies causing the death of Ms Collins by driving dangerously and has also pleaded not guilty to injuring Ms Haldane during the same incident.
His lawyers have lodged a special defence claiming he fainted in the moments leading up to the collision. They claim Friel’s blood pressure dropped to such a low level he experienced a “total loss of control of his actions”.
On Monday, Friel said he was on medication for high blood pressure at the time his Range Rover struck Ms Collins.
Friel also told the court that in the months leading up to the January 2014 collision he suffered “excruciating” headaches during sex.
His GP prescribed him medication for the problem and he also started taking Viagra. The court heard the combination of these medications could have caused his blood pressure to drop.
Jurors heard how following the January 2014 crash, he visited consultant cardiologist Professor Adrian Brady at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The court heard Dr Brady stopped Friel from taking the medication given to him for the headaches.
The jury heard Dr Brady thought the medication could have lowered Friel’s blood pressure to such a level as to cause him a blackout.
When asked by Mr Duguid if he would have taken the medication if he had known about its potential consequences, Friel wept and said: “No. If I did I would have went to Dr Brady and he would have stopped the accident.”
Friel, who owns a letting agency in Glasgow, also told the court he could not remember the collision or the immediate aftermath of the incident.
He told the court that on the day of the crash, he worked out on a treadmill in his home gym.
Friel added: “There was a girl at my window and there was somebody on the ground. I just said to the girl ‘what happened to her’ and she said ‘you went through a red light and you knocked her down’ and I said ‘what?'”
He told the court he got out of the car and saw another person lying on the ground, adding: “I said ‘Oh my God, Oh my God, there’s somebody else.’ I jumped into my car and reversed back off her.”
The court heard that following the collision, Friel spoke to a police officer. He told the officer he did not recall what happened.
He is also alleged to have said he did not “feel comfortable” speaking to law enforcement and wanted to speak to a lawyer first.
When prosecution lawyer Iain McSporran asked him if he made the remark or said something similar to the police officer, Friel replied: “Yes. I said something to that effect. I didn’t feel comfortable.
“I knew it was very serious. I wanted to speak to a lawyer to get some advice. I was in shock. I was in total shock.”
Prosecutors claim Friel caused the death of Charlotte Collins on January 18, 2014 on Barrhead Road, Glasgow.
The Crown alleges Friel was driving a car with a registration plater 27V. They claim he failed to observe pedestrians crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing in contravention of a red light signals.
Prosecutors claim this caused the vehicle to strike Ms Collins and this caused her to be so severely injured that she later died at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.
They also claim Friel’s alleged dangerous driving caused Ms Haldane to be severely injured, permanently disfigured and permanently impaired.
Friel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyers have lodged a special defence on his behalf stating that he had a vasovagal attack at the time of the alleged incident.
The trial, before temporary judge John Morris QC, continues on Tuesday when prosecution and defence advocates are expected to give their closing speeches to jurors.