Driver who killed pensioner on her way to church jailed

Motorist David Harper was speeding as he hit 79-year-old Margaret McGinnes in South Lanarkshire in 2018.

Driver who killed pensioner on her way to church jailed STV News

A speeding motorist has been given a five-year jail sentence after killing an elderly woman on her way to church.

David Harper, a 34-year-old father-of-two, hit 79-year-old Margaret McGinnes whilst she was crossing Old Edinburgh Road in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire.

The incident, which took place on May 25 in 2018, saw Harper driving in excess of the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit before his car skidded and collided with Ms McGinnes.

Harper had earlier denied causing the death of Ms McGinnes’ by driving dangerously but was found guilty following a trial.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Fairley said it was clear that the suddenness and circumstances of Ms McGinnes’ death had been the cause of “profound grief” to her family.

Lord Fairley said that taxi drivers who saw Harper driving shortly before the collision were alarmed at the speed he was travelling at.

Vehicle examiners who looked at the car following the incident found that a cable to the anti-lock braking system (ABS) was frayed.

Harper had braked heavily while driving at around 45mph with clouds of black smoke seen, but the wheels locked up and the vehicle went into a skid.

Lord Fairley said Harper knew that there was a fault with the vehicle’s ABS because a warning light on the console had been illuminated.

He told Harper that his conduct and previous convictions, which included a dangerous driving offence, meant a custodial sentence was appropriate.

The judge also banned Harper from driving for ten-and-a-half years and told him he would be required to sit an extended test if he ever wanted to hold a driving licence again.

Defence counsel Euan Dow said Harper had accepted his driving was careless and sought to persuade the jury at his trial that the driving was not dangerous, but that was not accepted.

Mr Dow said Harper’s position was that he had intended to get the fault with the ABS fixed in the following days.

Mr Dow said Harper had not carried out a prolonged and persistent course of deliberate, bad driving in the lead up to the offence.

The defence counsel said: “He has repeatedly expressed remorse. He acknowledges the impact his conduct continues to have on the family of the deceased and he states he is struggling to deal with that.”

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