A speeding delivery driver with an expired licence who mowed down and killed a “bright and caring” teenager has been jailed for more than five years.
Florjan Dajti, 33, who was delivering food to a local shop, was described as “hammering” down Glasgow’s Great Western Road before hitting into Sophie Geddes, who was crossing the route, on December 5, 2020.
Dajti held a full driving licence from his homeland Albania, but it was only valid for 12 months in the UK, and had expired weeks before the fatal collision.
The High Court in Stirling heard Dajti’s Ford Focus car was estimated to be travelling at between 37mph and 50mph at the time – an “underestimate” because the exact point of the collision was not known.
The speed limit was 30.
Dajti failed to notice the 16-year-old and did not brake or take other evasive action in time. He also did not sound his horn.
The court heard the teenager had been visible on the road for 4.4 seconds when she was hit.
Prosecutor David Logan said an average driver’s reaction time was two seconds. Therefore if Dajti had been sticking to the speed limit, he could have stopped, and at a higher speed he should have been able to take evasive action.
Mr Logan said: “The egregious factor is his complete failure to react or respond to Sophie Geddes’ presence on the carriageway, when this collision should have been capable of being avoided.”
Judge Simon Collins KC said that the suffering Dajti had caused to Sophie’s parents was “terrible and ongoing”.
He said: “It was dark but driving conditions and the street lighting were good. He should have seen her and should have avoided her.
“One can only hope for her sake that she was immediately rendered unconscious and did not suffer.
“But her parents will feel understandably that by the accused’s actions they have had handed down to them a life sentence of grief and loss.
“Any sentence which is within my power to impose will feel inadequate to theirs by comparison.”
He jailed Dajti for five years and four months, and banned him from driving for 11 years and eight months.
The married father-of-one, a warehouseman, of Scotstoun in Glasgow appeared for sentencing after pleading guilty in October to causing Sophie’s death by dangerous driving.
Sophie, of Knightswood, had gone out on the night of her death to meet a friend. She was crossing Great Western Road near Garscadden Road South when she was struck.
Dajti was described by an eye witness as “hammering” down the road.
Sophie suffered multiple injuries including fractures to her skull and pelvis. She was rushed to hospital, but died the next morning.
Dajti’s car was badly damaged in the incident. He also struck another car – leaving its driver unconscious – after hitting Sophie.
The court heard it was “only good fortune” that this other driver was not more seriously hurt.
Sophie’s parents Stephen and Paula, her younger sister Ruby, and a large number of her friends sat in the public benches in the courtroom at Stirling as the case was heard.
Dajti’s lawyer Jim Keegan KC said his client “could not explain” why he had not seen Sophie.
Mr Keenan said: “There are no words to express how tragic this is.”
After the her death, Sophie’s headmistress at the Notre Dame High School, Rosemary Martin, said she would “always have a special place in our hearts”.
Mrs Martin said: “We are absolutely devastated. Sophie was more than a pupil at our school. She was a very valued member of the community and a joy to be around.
“She was bright, caring, loving and went out her way to help others – a genuine ambassador for our school.”
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