Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Drink-driver jailed over cyclist death

A drink driver who was three times the legal limit when he fatally hit a cyclist in West Lothian has been jailed for five years.

Dr Konstantinos Tourlas, 38, from Edinburgh, was hit by a car on B9080, near Kirkliston Sports Centre, in June.

Andrzej Stankiewicz, 42, earlier pleaded guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh to causing his death by driving when unfit through drink.

Stankiewicz hit him head-on after crossing on to the road's wrong side.

Weekend cycle

The court heard Stankiewicz, who lived in Winchburgh, was drinking heavily the previous night while watching the World Cup and had then topped up on beer on the day of the fatal collision, as he worked on a rockery.

The motorist admitted driving at excessive speed, swerving about the road, failing to negotiate a bend and crossing on to the opposite carriageway into the path of Dr Tourlas who was out on a weekend cycle ride with his girlfriend Kathleen Ralston, 41.

Judge Lord Bannatyne told Stankiewicz: "I am clearly of the view that the only sentence open to me is a substantial custodial one."

The judge said: "You deliberately drove for some distance in the knowledge not only that you had been drinking heavily the night before but that you had gone on to drink on the day of the incident," he said.

Impact statements

Lord Bannatyne said: "I have to take into account that your actions caused the death of Mr Tourlas and what that must firstly mean to his partner who, of course, witnessed this incident, which must have been horrific for her.

"Not only must this have been devastating for her, I have been given victim impact statements from his family in Greece.

"It is quite apparent from these that the effect on them could properly be described as utterly devastating."

The judge said Stankiewicz would have faced a seven-year jail sentence but for his guilty plea. He also banned him from driving for 10 years.

Stankiewicz said he had been driving for 25 years and held a Polish licence, but it was later found that it had expired and insurers said they would not cover the use of the car.

Defence solicitor advocate Robbie Burnett said he had been asked by Stankiewicz "to express his sincere and unreserved regret to Miss Ralston and the family of the deceased".

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