Tayside and Central Scotland

Appeal to increase death crash driver's sentence is refused

Court of Criminal Appeal
Image caption The case was heard at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh

An appeal to increase a drink-driver's four-year prison sentence for killing a motorist and seriously injuring his wife has been refused.

Russell McKeever was jailed in January after he admitted causing the 2014 collision which led to the death of Colin Taylor, from Stonehaven.

Prosecutors argued that the sentence handed down to McKeever, of Dundee, was "unduly lenient."

Judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh refused the appeal.

The 42-year-old was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston by Lord Turnbull, who reduced the sentence from six years to four to reflect his guilty plea.

McKeever drove on the wrong side of the Brechin to Arbroath road and crashed into Mr Taylor's car, killing him instantly.

His wife Julie underwent 12 hours of emergency surgery after sustaining multiple fractures in the crash.

'Devastating consequences'

Her victim impact statement was described as "an eloquent exposition of the devastating consequences for her of the collision".

The appeal was heard before judges Lady Smith, Lady Dorrian and Lord Bracadale.

The Crown argued that Lord Turbull had failed to give due weight to the gravity of the offence.

It said that McKeever was almost three times the drink-drive limit at the time and had two previous convictions for speeding.

In his submission to the appeal judges, advocate depute Bruce Erroch said that while the level of discount was at the sentencing judge's discretion, a discount of one third was "excessive".

In the judges' ruling, Lord Bracadale said: "We consider that the sentencing judge's selection of a headline sentence of six years imprisonment cannot be said to fall outwith the range of disposals open to him.

"As to discount, we consider that the level of discount to be allowed in respect of the plea in this case was primarily a matter for the discretion of the sentencing judge."

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