Fatal road accident at Motherwell Cross in June 2011
A driver who caused the death of a former nurse after suffering a diabetic fit at the wheel was last week jailed for six years and eight months.
The High Court in Glasgow heard Brian Docherty’s car ploughed into friends Elizabeth McGuiness and Barbara McCready as they walked from a church service in Motherwell in June last year.
Miss McGuiness died in the carnage and Mrs McCready was left seriously injured.
Docherty should not have been on the road and should have told the DVLA of his diabetic condition. The 45 year-old also had a poor history of taking medication to control his diabetes.
Jailing him, judge Lady Stacey said: “Nothing I can say or indeed anything you can say or do can lessen the grief for the family of Miss McGuiness. You will have to live with the knowledge of causing the death of one woman and serious injury to another.
“It was a result of your medical condition. You knew of your condition and failed to take the steps you should have taken which would have led to the surrender of your licence. You knew you were at risk of hypoglycemic attacks. You had suffered from such in the past and had suffered from one before the accident.”
Lady Stacey also banned Docherty from driving for 10 years.
Docherty admitted causing the death of Miss McGuiness by dangerous driving and leaving Mrs McCready severely injured on June 27 last year.
Miss McGuiness (63), and Mrs McCready (64), had been at a service at Motherwell Cathedral and were walking along the pavement to a nearby cafe when they were knocked down. Docherty was on his way home, having been at the hospital for a foot problem.
The court was shown harrowing CCTV footage of the carnage Docherty caused. He drove down a one-way road in Muir Street, Motherwell, but then stopped his car.
Prosecutor Murdo MacTaggart said: “A witness saw that the accused appeared to be having some kind of fit and that his whole body was shaking.”
Despite this, Docherty accelerated, forcing other drivers to dodge him. He then careered into a parked car before mounting the pavement.
Miss McGuiness and Mrs McCready were hit. Miss McGuiness was dragged under the wheels of Docherty’s car and Mrs McCready was thrown into the air.
Docherty’s car eventually came to a halt after smashing into nearby railings.
Miss McGuiness – who latterly worked as a support worker for North Lanarkshire Council – was pronounced dead at the scene having suffered extensive head and leg injuries.
Mrs McCready was rushed to hospital with multiple fractures.
A dazed-looking Docherty, who was still in his car , told paramedics he was diabetic.
Mr MacTaggart told the court: “It appears the accused suffered a hypoglycemic attack while he was driving.
“His low blood-sugar level would have severely affected his ability to drive and he would have been close to passing out at the time of the incident.”
Medical records showed Docherty – who been forced to give up his job as a driver - “poorly controlled” his diabetes. Mr MacTaggart added: “This would have resulted in the suspension of his licence. He did not notify the DVLA and he continued to hold a full licence.
“He had suffered a number of hypoglycemic attacks in the past.
“He had attended his GP 12 days before this incident and complained he had suffered an attack during the night.”
The court was told how Mrs McCready – a retired school cook – was in hospital for another three months.
She still has difficulty walking and is fearful of being anywhere near traffic.
Solicitor advocate Ali Murray, defending, said: “Mr Docherty has expressed remorse for what he did.
“He accepts full responsibility for this.
“Nothing I can say on his behalf can alter the catastrophic events of that day.”
Members of the families were in court, but declined to comment afterwards.