Glasgow & West Scotland

Drink-driver jailed after killing Mull vet in crash

Thomas Wainwright Image copyright Iain McLellan/Spindrift Photo Agency
Image caption Thomas Wainwright had been drinking heavily and was on the wrong side of the road

A drink-driver who killed an island vet in a head-on collision has been jailed for 12 years and banned for 15 years.

Thomas Wainwright, 27, was driving on the wrong side of the road and travelling up to 95mph in a hired Maserati when he crashed into Theresa Wade's van on Mull in October 2015.

The court previously heard he had been drinking cider and whisky for eight-and-a-half hours before the crash.

He was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after a trial.

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Media captionTheresa Wade worked as a vet on the island of Mull

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge John Morris QC said Wainwright had driven that day at "ridiculously excessive speeds" and that he found it difficult to find any mitigating factors.

During the trial, Wainwright and his passenger, 42-year-old Jerome Lopez, claimed that Miss Wade had been on the wrong side of the road and caused the accident.

However, that was disproved by traffic experts who examined the crash scene.

Witnesses from Mull told how Wainwright, who was with Mr Lopez, his mother's partner, had been drinking at a hotel, a pub and a distillery in Tobermory before having another two pints of cider in the Craignure Inn.

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Wainwright's Maserati had been on the wrong side of the road

As he headed back towards Tobermory on the wrong side of the A849 his hire car smashed into the van driven by Miss Wade.

'Quite staggering'

At the point of impact he was travelling at 69 mph. His speed was recorded on a "black box" device fitted to the Maserati.

The court heard Wainwright was on Mull, along with members of his family, visiting his sick grandmother. He had flown into Edinburgh airport and hired the Maserati.

Judge Morris said: "Just prior to leaving your final licensed premises you were spoken to by a concerned member of the public who asked how you were getting home . Your reply was: 'The car knows its own way home.'

"A remark which is all too indicative of your general attitude to all that transpired.

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Wainwright had hired the Maserati

"Prior to the accident you persistently drove at - quite frankly - ridiculously excessive speeds. To drive at 95.5mph on a dark county road borders on the reckless.

"You have shown no remorse for your actions - quite the contrary - your arrogance in giving evidence and in the social inquiry report is quite staggering."

The judge added: "In your evidence you sought to put the blame on Miss Wade knowing full that her family were in the court listening to you."

Defence QC Ian Duguid said: "In my discussions with Mr Wainwright he has expressed genuine remorse, but that has not come across to the social worker who compiled a background report.

"That may be because his first language is French. His family is of Scottish origin, but he has lived in France for most of his life.

"He has lost his job and now his liberty."

'Happy recollections'

Speaking outside court, Charles Pease, Ms Wade's partner and colleague, said: "Certainly the sentence could have been more but it's a judicial matter over which we have no influence.

"It doesn't bring Theresa back."

He added that the family's faith in the justice system was "not misplaced".

He said: "Has justice been done? Well, Thomas Wainwright will have 12 years to reflect upon that.

"Me, I should choose to forget Thomas Wainwright.

"I have too many happy recollections of Theresa to let Thomas Wainwright spoil them."

Following the trial, prosecutor Tim Niven-Smith revealed that Wainwright, who worked as the first officer on the £6.26m yacht MY Mahogany based in the south of France, had a previous conviction for driving while unfit through drink or drugs.

At a court in Nice he was fined 700 euros and given a suspended sentence.

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