South Scotland

Driver banned after crash in which Denholm woman died

Jedburgh Sheriff Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Roddy Graham was banned from driving at Jedburgh Sheriff Court

A man has been banned from the road after admitting causing the death of a Denholm woman by careless driving.

Three of Kirsty Parker's four children were in her car when it was involved in a head-on collision with a Peugeot driven by 28-year-old Roddy Graham.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told a "momentary lack of attention" resulted in the accident.

Graham, from Denholm, was banned for 12 months and ordered to carry out 90 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard how he swerved onto the opposite carriageway to avoid colliding with a Transit van and went into the path of Ms Parker's Vauxhall Zafira.

His lawyer Ed Hulme said his client had not noticed the van he was following from a safe distance slowing down to turn right into a junction because the brake lights were not working.

'Devastating consequences'

He said at that moment the sun reflected in his eyes from the rear view mirror and the driver adjusted the mirror.

Mr Hulme said: "When he looked up the rear of the van was coming towards him and there was no time to avoid a collision.

"He pulled over to one side as he did not think anything was coming but of course there was."

He added: "The lack of brake lights on the van is a major factor here."

Mr Hulme said that Graham did not recall seeing an indicator light at the time either.

He explained it was an unfortunate series of events which had "devastating consequences".

He said this was the case for his client as well and he had not driven since the incident. Graham had various fractures and was off work for four months.

'Sincere condolences'

Ms Parker, 34, suffered a fatal neck injury and her three sons, aged one, nine and 12 had minor injuries following the collision on the A698 near Denholm on the afternoon of Thursday 11 February last year.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Peter Paterson explained that with such cases, while not ignoring the tragic consequences, the level of criminality had to be taken into account.

He said: "The first thing I have to say is that the court extends its sincere condolences to all members of the family affected by this tragic event.

"When considering a sentence the court is primarily concerned with the criminality involved.

"The court does not disregard the consequences however, but is primarily looking at the degree of wrongfulness involved."

He said that if the driving had been "dangerous or of a wilful nature" that would have made the criminality higher.

"There was a momentary lack of attention - that I have to accept and also to reflect that in the sentence," he said.

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