Highlands & Islands

Learner drink-driver admits Caithness A9 death crash

High Court in Edinburgh. Pic: Crown copyright
Image caption The court heard that McCulloch's car collided with a building and a stone wall

A man has admitted causing a friend's death in a crash on the A9 near Spittal in Caithness while he was still a learner driver.

Stuart McCulloch, 28, from Halkirk, Caithness, had been drinking alcohol before smashing into a wall on 26 February last year.

His passenger Michael Cameron, 23, of Thurso, died from his injuries.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Pentland deferred sentence until August for background reports.

McCulloch was remanded in custody.

He pleaded guilty to causing Mr Cameron's death by driving carelessly while unfit because of drink.

At the time of the crash he was the holder of a provisional licence, the court heard.

Advocate depute Richard Goddard said a blood sample taken when McCulloch was treated in hospital showed an alcohol reading of 102mg and the legal limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood.

The court heard that McCulloch and Mr Cameron had a meal in Thurso and had intended on going to McCulloch's house for drinks.

In the early hours of the following morning police in Thurso town centre spoke to McCulloch and found him "confrontational and under the influence of alcohol."

McCulloch later got into his Astra and collided with a stone building and a wall at Achalone, near Spittal.

Following the crash he told police that he had not been driving.

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