Highlands & Islands

Letter from mum of teenager killed in crash read in court

Georgia Gilham Image copyright Copyline Scotland
Image caption Georgia Gilham's boyfriend David White admitted causing death by careless driving

A letter from the mother of a teenager who died in a two-car crash near Inverness has been read out in court.

Debbie Gilham asked a sheriff to show leniency to her daughter Georgia's boyfriend David White, 20, who was driving the car she was in.

Mechanic John Foggo, 18, from North Kessock and a rear seat passenger in White's car, died in hospital.

White, of Croy, admitted causing death by careless driving and was sentenced to community service.

The head-on crash happened near Croy in March last year.

'Begging me'

Part of Mrs Gilham's letter to Sheriff Chris Dickson was read out in Inverness Sheriff Court by defence solicitor advocate Shahid Latif

He said: "It opens with a plea for leniency. She says that she has seen the toll of what has occurred and the impact it has had on my client.

"She also writes: 'I can't help Georgia now but if she were here she would be begging me to do everything in my power to help David.'"

Mr Latif confirmed that the other family members involved were supportive of White.

Image copyright Belladrum Tartan Heart Music Festival
Image caption A bench dedicated to Georgia was installed at the Belladrum music festival site last year

The solicitor advocate told the court of the effect the fatal crash has had on White.

He said: "He is a young man who is devastated and has struggled to come to terms with the loss of his friends. He is clearly traumatised by these events and has recurring flashbacks.

"He has given up his job as a mechanic because he can't concentrate and is worried he will make a mistake.

"He did not mean to cause the deaths of his then girlfriend and his friend.

"What caused the collision is not certain, but whatever led to the loss of control was a secondary lapse or error of judgement. He didn't slow sufficiently down."

'Fell in love'

The court was told that White had only passed his test six months before and lost control as he went through a bend. He then crossed the centre line into the path of the oncoming car on the B9006.

Sheriff Dickson told White: "I have taken into account the letter from Ms Gilham's mother, your lack of record, your age and that you are at low risk of re-offending.

"But had it been causing death by dangerous driving, you would have been sent to custody.

"As inexperience of driving was a factor, you will have to sit the extended driving test at the end of your ban."

White was ordered to carry out the maximum 300 hours of community service, banned from driving for 16 months and a restriction of liberty order for 90 days was imposed.

He will have to wear a tag and remain in his home between 20:00 and 06:00.

Last year, the ashes of 16-year-old Georgia were scattered at a Highlands music festival site.

A memorial bench to her was also installed at the Belladrum Tartan Heart festival site near Beauly.

At the time, the organisers of the festival said Georgia's mother said her daughter "fell in love" with the music event.

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