Driver killed friend and left other wheelchair-bound after crashing into motorbikes

Paul Shrubsole had been friends with the victim and had set up Grays Athletic walking football team together.

Driver killed friend and left other wheelchair-bound after crashing into motorbikes on M74 Getty Images

A motorist on his mobile phone killed his friend after crashing into his motorcycle.

Paul Shrubsole, 60, struck teacher Julian Wiseman, 57, on the M74 near Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, on July 24, 2021.

Shrubsole’s car also hit their other friend Paul Allum’s motorbike whose life-changing injuries have left him wheelchair bound.

Shrubsole, of Essex, and others had been driving in a convoy from England to Scotland on a trip.

Shrubsole had been friends with maths teacher Mr Wiseman and had set up Grays Athletic walking football team together.

Dad-of-two Mr Wiseman had only recently recovered from cancer before the horror collision.

Mr Wiseman and Mr Allum had driven ahead of Shrubsole’s Nissan Qashqai on the day of the incident.

Court papers state that Shrubsole made a number of calls from his phone that afternoon, one of which to Mr Allum.

Shrubsole used his hands free mobile device to dial moments before the collision.

Prosecutor Chris Wilson told jurors at the High Court in Glasgow in his closing speech: “20 seconds. That’s the period of time he failed to react to the lights of the flowing traffic ahead of him.”

The charge states Shrubsole “failed to react to motor vehicles slowing in the lane ahead and caused his car to collide with Mr Wiseman’s motorcycle.

“Thereafter he did collide with motorcycle being driven there by the Mr Allum, and a motor car then being driven there by William Grattan, whereby all said motor vehicles were damaged.

A witness reported seeing one of the motorcyclists being “thrown into the air.”

Shrubsole was stated to be “very panicked” and a police officer claimed that he was “agitated.”

Jurors were told that Shrubsole he sent a text message to a contact on his mobile.

It read: “I’ve killed Julian and Paul. I ploughed into the back of them.”

Shrubsole made admissions when spoke to by police stating: “I accept full liability. I was on the phone, it was hands free, I pressed dial and it was it.”

Mr Wiseman was pronounced dead after 3.15pm on the same day.

A post mortem carried out found that he suffered a string of injuries including a fractured arm, a significant head injury with fractures to the skull.

He also sustained fractures to the ribs, chest bone and back as well as wounds to his lungs, heart, liver spleen and kidney.

His cause of death was stated to be “multiple injuries due to road traffic collision (motorcyclist).

Mr Allum meantime suffered a spinal injury as well as fractures to his ribs and left leg.

He is also wheelchair dependent and relies on the assistance of two support workers.

Tributes were paid to former college lecturer Mr Wiseman following his death.

A statement from his family said: “We would like to extend condolences to all of those affected by his loss, particularly to all of his students who always meant so much to him.

“Words cannot express what a kind, caring, compassionate and supportive person Julian was and he will be sorely missed by everybody who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

A statement from his Grays Athletic team read: “Julian was a very warm and friendly person who engaged with all players in the club to encourage them to play better.”

Shrubsole stood trial initially accused of causing Mr Wiseman’s death by dangerous driving however this was changed to careless driving after he was convicted by the jury.

Sentence was deferred pending background reports until next month by Judge Lord Arthurson.

He told the first offender: “The jury found you guilty of an extremely serious offence in this utterly tragic case.

“All options are available to me including custody and I will disqualify you from driving.”

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