Glasgow & West Scotland

Jailed 'faint' driver killer Vincent Friel to appeal conviction

Vincent Friel Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Vincent Friel is to appeal against his conviction for causing death by dangerous driving

A driver who was jailed for killing a pensioner after jurors rejected his claim that he fainted at the wheel is to appeal against his conviction.

Vincent Friel was given three years for killing Charlotte Collins, 68, and injuring her cousin Margaret Haldane, 69, in Glasgow, on 18 January 2014.

The 44-year-old from Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, was also banned from driving for five years.

He now plans to appeal his conviction for causing death by dangerous driving.

Friel's lawyer Richard Freeman said: "Mr Friel's position is that he was stopped at the red light when he blacked out.

"Because his car is an automatic it moved forward when his foot came off the brake and it struck Ms Collins and Ms Haldane.

"We are looking at lodging an appeal against this conviction."

Friel was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday having earlier been found guilty of the charges against him.

Blood pressure

The court previously heard that Friel's Range Rover ploughed into the women at a pedestrian crossing in Barrhead Road, near Glasgow's Silverburn Shopping Centre.

Friel, who owns a property letting business employing 20 people, was taking blood pressure medication at the time of the collision.

He had also been prescribed Viagra and medicine to take away headaches that were brought on by having sex.

His lawyers claimed the combined medicine caused his blood pressure to drop to such a low level as to cause him to faint and he was not in control of his actions at the time.

The court heard from one doctor, described as a world-renowned expert in his field, who said it was "likely or possible" that Friel had suffered a "vasovagal" episode, another term for a faint.

However, cardiologist Dr Andrew Flapan told jurors he thought it was "extremely unlikely" that Friel had fainted at the wheel of his 4x4.

He pointed to the fact Friel looked normal after the crash and was able to reverse his car off one of the women and use his mobile phone to call for an ambulance, saying he would not be able to do these things for at least 20 minutes after fainting.

A jury of nine women and six men took just one hour and 40 minutes to find Friel guilty of causing the death of Ms Collins and the serious injury of Miss Haldane by driving dangerously.

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