Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Drink driver who killed teenage friend jailed

Lee Hamilton Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Lee Hamilton lost control of his Peugeot 106 and hit a wall resulting in the death of his friend

A speeding drink driver who killed a teenage friend in a crash after downing drinks at a wedding has been jailed for four years and eight months.

Lee Hamilton, 23, who held a provisional licence, admitted losing control and crashing into a wall, killing Kristoffer Brister, 19.

Hamilton was helped out of the damaged vehicle, but ran away when police arrived on the scene in Leven, Fife.

The car's speedometer was locked at 68mph. The road's limit was 30mph.

The accident happened on 30 November last year on the A915 road at Windygates Road in Leven, as Hamilton drove his Peugeot 106.

'Terrible consequences'

A judge at the High Court in Edinburgh described the case as "tragic" and said there was nothing he could do that would undo "the terrible consequences" of Hamilton's decision to drive.

Lord Uist pointed out that the previous evening Hamilton had consumed beer and spirits over a period of five hours, to the extent that he was physically sick.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Kristoffer Brister was a front-seat passenger in the car

The judge said he accepted that Hamilton had showed genuine remorse but said the journey had been "wholly unnecessary". He said that if the case had gone to trial, he would have jailed him for six years for causing death by dangerous driving.

Hamilton was banned from driving for six years and eight months and until he passes a test.

Unfit to drive

Hamilton, from Methil, Fife, admitted causing the death of Mr Brister in August. He also admitted the offence of driving otherwise in accordance with a licence and using a vehicle uninsured or unsecured against third party risks.

Advocate depute Steven Borthwick said Hamilton had attended a wedding reception on 29 November.

He said: "Bar staff present throughout the evening described the accused as unfit to drive following his consumption of alcohol."

About an hour later Hamilton was caught on CCTV at a garage on Windygates Road, with Mr Brister as a front-seat passenger.

A car driver who came to the scene of the crash found the damaged Peugeot. Hamilton, who was shouting for help, was freed from the car but Mr Brister appeared either dead or unconscious.

'Inevitable' sentence

The advocate depute said that medical opinion was Mr Brister had been killed outright in the collision.

A call was later made to an ambulance service over a man who had reportedly suffered injuries in a fall. When the police turned up at the house in Methil they saw Hamilton being put into the back of an ambulance.

As he was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy he said to a paramedic and a police officer: "I was driving a car that crashed into a wall."

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci earlier said unemployed Hamilton accepted that a prison sentence was "inevitable".

He added: "He is acutely aware of the impact that his actions have had on Mr Brister's family."

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