Glasgow & West Scotland

Driver who killed husband with car spared jail

George Pope Image copyright other

A woman who killed her husband as he walked in front of their car in Paisley has been spared jail after being convicted of causing his death by careless driving.

Kareen Pope, 44, was sentenced to unpaid work in the community.

The court heard she had been driving slowly behind her husband George as he walked ahead, intoxicated. She hit him and he became trapped under the car.

Sheriff Robert Fife described it as a "tragic case".

The incident took place on 6 December 2012 in the street where Mr Pope lived.

After a trial last month jurors took half an hour to decide on a guilty verdict for causing death by careless driving.

'Unnecessary' death

The court had heard that the couple, who had been married for 10 years, had been arguing about Mr Pope's drinking earlier in the evening.

At the time of his death, he had a blood alcohol level of 369mg per 100ml of blood. He was described as an alcoholic by his stepson, Glen Hodgkinson.

Pope drove Mr Pope from their house to his flat in Waverley Road, Foxbar, after the argument.

When they arrived, 42-year-old Mr Pope started walking in the middle of the road. His wife drove slowly behind him for approximately 28m, before striking him, causing him to become trapped underneath the car.

Paramedics arrived a few minutes after the accident but could not find a pulse. The fire service used air bags to raise the car but Mr Pope was pronounced dead at the Royal Alexandra Hospital later that night.

Deputy Procurator Fiscal Amanda Gallacher said: "She could have stopped, she could have went around him, she could have reversed and went another way... George Pope's death that night was unnecessary and could have been avoided by Kareen Pope by doing almost anything other than what she did."

Pope chose not to give evidence in the trial.

'Shocked and panicked'

Her defence lawyer Manus Tolland told the court she had not been careless by driving slowly behind her husband.

He said: "Kareen Pope thought she was being competent and careful in driving at a slow speed, at walking speed, in the expectation that her husband would get out of the way.

"She is going to have to live with this for the rest of her life."

Pope's 21-year-old stepson, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the incident, gave evidence earlier in the trail.

He said: "George stumbled before the car struck him and my mum applied the brake immediately after he disappeared from view.

"She had a shocked and panicked look... She attempted to reverse but couldn't.

"That's when the realisation set in that George was trapped under the car."

Sentencing Pope at Paisley Sheriff Court, Sheriff Fife told her: "It's very sad - you were careless and it had terrible consequences."

He said reports prepared were positive and concluded that a community payback order requiring her to complete 200 hours of unpaid work was the appropriate sentence.

Mrs Pope was disqualified from driving for three years.

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