Highlands & Islands

Learner drink-driver jailed for Caithness A9 death crash

High Court in Edinburgh. Pic: Crown copyright
Image caption The court had earlier heard about McCulloch's "confrontational" state after drinking

A man who admitted causing a friend's death in a crash on the A9 in Caithness while drunk and still a learner driver, has been jailed for five years.

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

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

McCulloch was also banned from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 10 years.

He was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Judge Lord Pentland told him: "Despite your inexperience as a driver and your drunken state you made a deliberate decision to drive."

Earlier, McCulloch 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.

A blood sample taken when McCulloch was treated in hospital showed an alcohol reading of 102mg. 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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