A motorist who gave a positive drugs test after causing the death of an experienced woman motorcyclist has been jailed for three years.
Dean Jackson made a right turn directly into the path of Yvonne Motherwell, 53, giving her insufficient time to stop or avoid a collision with his BMW.
The mother-of-three suffered “catastrophic” injuries in the fatal crash on the A706 at the small village of Wilsontown, near Forth, in South Lanarkshire.
A judge at the High Court in Edinburgh rejected a plea to spare Jackson, 22, a jail sentence following the offence.
Lord Beckett told him: “There is no alternative to a prison sentence because of the gravity of the crime which you committed.”
He said there was nothing in the manner of Ms Motherwell’s lawful driving which contributed to the incident, but rather Jackson’s “sustained lack of attention” caused it.
Lord Beckett told Jackson that he would have faced a four-year prison term but for his guilty plea and banned him from driving for four and a half years.
Jackson, formerly of McCormack Place, Larbert, in Stirlingshire, earlier admitted causing the victim’s death by driving without due care and attention and while over the limit for a cocaine metabolite.
He failed to maintain proper observations of the road ahead and failed to observe and give way to the motorcyclist.
IT engineer Jackson passed a breath test but a preliminary drug test gave a positive indication for the Class A narcotic cocaine.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice told the High Court in Edinburgh: “At the material time the accused was more than three times the specified limit for Benzoylecgonine (BZE), the major metabolite in cocaine.”
The court heard that BZE can remain in a user’s blood system for up to 48 hours, while cocaine usually disappears within a few hours of being taken.
The prosecutor said Ms Motherwell was driving northbound with another motorcyclist while Jackson was travelling in the opposite direction intending to visit a girlfriend in Wilsontown on April 3 in 2021.
Mr Prentice said: “It was daylight, visibility was good, the weather was fine and there were no high winds. The road surface was dry and the volume of traffic was moderate.”
After the crash a woman who was driving behind Jackson asked him how he had not seen the motorcyclists approaching from the opposite direction and he replied: “I never saw them.”
Accident investigators concluded: “The collision has been the result of the driver of the black BMW motor car failing to pay full attention to the road ahead.”
“The driver of the black BMW had views ahead from an elevated position on approach to the scene therefore there is no reason why the driver should not have observed the black Suzuki motorcycle approaching,” they said.
They calculated that Ms Motherwell’s motorbike could have been visible to the car driver for between 7.71 and 9.59 seconds.
Mr Prentice said: “Yvonne Motherwell kept very good health and has been described as being extremely active in terms of fitness.”
“She is understood to have had considerable experience riding motorbikes, having done so for some 17 years at the time of the collision. She was part of a riding club,” he said.
The prosecutor said the motorcyclist, who worked at a pharmacy in Douglas, South Lanarkshire, was described as “a very competent and extremely cautious rider”.
Defence counsel Janice Green asked the court to deal with Jackson by imposing a non-custodial sentence on him.
She said his position was that he was distracted from the road ahead because of another parked vehicle at the junction where he was turning.
She said: “On any view, he was an inexperienced driver at the time of the incident.” She said Jackson has shown remorse and suffers a depressive disorder.
She asked the court to take into account his age at the time and now and said sentencing guidelines for dealing with young people applied.
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