Jail for Co’path fatal crash driver

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A GATESHEAD lorry driver who caused the death of a man on the A1 close to Cockburnspath earlier this year faces a year behind bars.

Thirty eight year old Marc Bell was found guilty of careless driving at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday, nearly two years after his HGV ploughed into the car of Dr Mahmoud Abdel-Fattah, killing the Dunfermline surgeon who was sitting in the vehicle at the time after breaking down.

Passing sentence, Temporary Judge John Beckett described the fatal accident as “a tragic loss of life” and said that Bell should have slowed down due to the fact that snow was lying on the busy road on the night in question.

Minutes before the accident, Bell had set his lorry to travel at a steady 52mph, faster than the legal speed limit, and he was still travelling at 46mph when he skidded and smashed sideways into the doctor’s car.

Although Judge Beckett said that Dr Abdel-Fattah’s decision to stay in the vehicle had contributed in part to his death, he said the speed Bell was travelling at was the main contributing factor, stating: “As a result a highly-regarded surgeon, husband and father died and his wife and daughters lost a central figure in their lives.

“He was invaluable to his family and the wider community in which he worked and served.

“The loss of a loving husband and father has had a terrible impact on them, not only emotionally but financially, and there is no sentence I can pass that has any impact on their loss.”

Defence counsel Iain Duguid QC said Bell’s remorse and emotional distress at having killed someone were genuine. He said he had spent time in hospital and was now seeing a psychologist to address mental health problems.

He had also lost his job and suffered financial loss as a result of his conviction.