Van driver’s dangerous manoeuvre killed pensioner in storm

Andrew McKinley, 26, from Kilmarnock, caused the death of Jean Shearer, 70, by dangerous driving.

High Court: Andrew McKinley has been jailed for five years.
High Court: Andrew McKinley has been jailed for five years.

A van driver who killed a pensioner in a head-on crash after a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre in a storm has been jailed for five years.

Andrew McKinley, 26, from Kilmarnock, was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of causing the death of Jean Shearer, 70, who was a passenger in her husband Walter’s Smart car in December 31, 2017, by dangerous driving.

Mr Shearer, 80, was also seriously hurt in the collision which took place around 11am on the A737 near Dalry, Ayrshire.

The Shearers were on their way to to visit their daughter, when McKinley’s Peugeot van struck them.

Storm Dylan was raging at the time and there was surface water on the road.

When McKinley pulled out to overtake his van aqua planed. He lost control and ended up on the wrong side of the road.

His van ploughed into the Smart car being driven by Mr Shearer. Mrs Shearer died seven days later in Crosshouse Hospital, Irvine.

Judge Johanna Johnson banned McKinley from driving for seven years on Thursday and told him: “You were aware of those conditions and you engaged in a course of dangerous driving through Dalry and overtook the car and drove at an extensive speed.

“Your actions have devastated a whole family and there is no sentence this court could ever impose that would reduce in any way the grief and loss felt by the Shearer family.”

“Jean was a lovely person and beautiful lady. She would help other people.”

Walter Shearer, Jean’s husband

Outside court Jean’s husband Walter blasted the jail term as “totally inadequate”.

An emotional Mr Shearer paid tribute to his wife, saying: “I’m first and foremost disappointed at the sentence – it was inadequate and doesn’t compare to the damage and death that he caused through dangerous driving.

“Jean was a lovely person and beautiful lady. She would help other people.

“Five years in my opinion is totally inadequate and it should be longer and I like to think we could appeal it.

“It is only the Crown that can appeal it and not the victims which doesn’t make it a level playing field – it’s unfair.”

The court heard that the cause of Mrs Shearer’s death was broncho-pneumonia and chest injuries due to road traffic collision.

Her husband suffered fractured ribs, and a broken leg. He did not give evidence as he has no memory of the crash.

McKinley sobbed and said “I’m sorry” to the Shearer family who were in the public gallery as he was led to custody.

He was previously convicted in December 2013 of careless driving and in February 2014 for dangerous driving and banned for two years.


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