Pensioner banned from road over crash near Peebles that killed pal, 87

A pensioner caused the death of an elderly friend by careless driving while on a golf outing, Selkirk Sheriff Court has been told.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 8:29 am
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 8:42 am
The A72 near Cardrona.

John Foster, 73, got lost on the A72 in the Borders as he tried to find the junction leading to the golf course at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, near Peebles, on June 4.

He tried to turn off to a group of cottages to ask for directions at Horsburgh Ford but misjudged the junction and struck a car coming in the opposite direction.

His passenger Robert Kerr, 87, of Glasgow, was severely injured and died in hospital shortly afterwards.

Foster was given a 10-month restriction-of-liberty order between the hours of 7pm and 7am at his home in Moodiesburn, North Lanarkshire, and banned from the road for two years.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser explained that the deceased had been married for 41 years, with two grown-up children living in Australia and England.

He said both men were members of the same parish church and had had gone on a golf outing it had organised.

Mr Fraser said: “They left Glasgow at around 7am and were heading for the Cardrona golf club.

“They were heading towards the Cardrona junction, and the accused was driving quite slowly at about 30mph.

“He indicated to turn right, which the vehicle following thought was a bit early.

“There was a vehicle coming from the opposite direction, and the accused drove across the path of the other car. It hit the rear side of the other car, and both vehicles spun out of control. There was a misjudgement of the speed of the west bound car.”

Mr Fraser said an off-duty doctor was quickly on the scene, as well as an air ambulance, but Mr Kerr died later that afternoon.

Defence lawyer Nicky Matteo said it had been a “tragic set of circumstances” and that Foster was distraught at the death of his friend.

He said: “He was a very good friend of his, and he feels responsible for the death of his friend.

“He has gone through various states of depression since the incident and feels ashamed.

“He was lost and trying to get to the cottages to get assistance.

“He did not judge the speed of the oncoming vehicle.”

Sheriff Peter Paterson was handed a letter from Mr Kerr’s family giving their views on the case, and he responded: “I have to say it is very commendable on behalf of the family. They have taken an enlightened view of the matter.”

Sheriff Paterson said it was a difficult task balancing the severe consequences and the criminality involved, adding that the criminality element was relatively low.

The sheriff said: “If there had not been for the tragic consequences of this, it would have been easier to deal with.”