Driver who killed OAP is jailed

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

A Ruther­glen busi­ness­man who killed a pen­sioner by hit­ting her with his Range Rover has been jailed for three years.

Vin­cent Friel, 44, whose ve­hi­cle hit Char­lotte Collins, 68, at a pedes­trian cross­ing in Bar­rhead Road, Glas­gow, was also banned from driv­ing for five years.

Miss Collins died shortly af­ter­wards and her cousin Mar­garet Hal­dane, 69, was se­ri­ously in­jured.

Friel’s de­fence that he blacked out at the wheel and went through a red light at a pedes­trian cross­ing was sim­i­lar to the one used by con­tro­ver­sial coun­cil bin lorry driver Harry Clarke.

Last week at the High Court in Glas­gow judge John Mor­ris QC told Friel: “You were a nor­mal, re­spectable mem­ber of the com­mu­nity un­til the date of this ac­ci­dent. I take into ac­count the ex­cep­tion­ally slow speed your ve­hi­cle was trav­el­ling at. How­ever, you drove through a pedes­trian cross­ing on a red light, caus­ing the death of one lady and in­jur­ing an­other.

“Miss Collins’ rel­a­tives have lost a much loved fam­ily mem­ber. The ef­fect on the fam­i­lies has been dev­as­tat­ing. No sen­tence I can pass will as­suage such dev­as­ta­tion.”

De­fence QC Ed­ward Tar­gowski said that the in­ci­dent hap­pened at very low speed, es­ti­mated to be as low as 4mph.

Mr Tar­gowski added: “Mr Friel is com­pletely dev­as­tated at the re­sult of this in­ci­dent. He is fully aware of the pain and dam­age that were in­flicted on both fam­i­lies and says it must be unimag­in­able.”

Miss Collins and her cousin Mar­garet Hal­dane were struck by the 4x4 close to Sil­ver­burn shop­ping cen­tre in Jan­uary 2014.

Friel, who owns a prop­erty let­ting busi­ness em­ploy­ing 20 peo­ple, was tak­ing blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tion at the time. 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, caus­ing him to faint.

But the jury found Friel guilty of caus­ing the death of Ms Collins and the se­ri­ous in­jury of Miss Hal­dane by driv­ing dan­ger­ously.

In ev­i­dence Vin­cent Friel told the court: “I’m just dev­as­tated. It has af­fected me greatly. I can’t be­lieve any of this. It could have been my own mother.”

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