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Viscount’s daughter-in-law admits causing death of north-east pensioner

Emily Arbuthnott
Emily Arbuthnott

A woman has admitted causing the death of a north-east pensioner by driving carelessly at a pedestrian crossing

Emily Arbuthnott was dazzled by the sun and did not see James Lyall as he walked across a zebra crossing in Inverbervie’s King Street.

After failing to slow down in her black Audi A3 the mother-of three ploughed her car into the 82-year-old just after 3.15pm on November 5, 2014.

Mr Lyall was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in an ambulance under a police escort but later died of serious head injuries.

The A92 in Inverbervie was closed for five hours in both directions following the incident to allow police to carry out investigations.

Yesterday, 37-year-old Arbuthnott appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted causing Mr Lyall’s death by driving “without due care and attention”.

Shaking as she signed the paperwork confirming the charge, Arbuthnott fought back tears as she told Sheriff Graham Buchanan she was pleading guilty.

The sheriff decided to defer sentence until next month for background reports.

He also asked for an agreed narration of the facts to be put before him.

He also imposed an interim driving ban.

Court papers state that Arbuthnott had her vision “obscured by the sun” before the tragic incident.

They state that as a result of her impaired vision she did not notice Mr Lyall as he crossed the road, nor did she reduce her speed or stop the car when she realised she could not see.

Her vehicle was also damaged in the collision, but she was not injured.

It is believed Mr Lyall was on his way to the beach for a walk when the accident happened near the village’s post office.

Neighbours said he was known for his love of the outdoors and had previously worked as a milkman for Nicolson’s Dairy and as a farm worker at nearby Pitcarry Farm before retiring.

Arbuthnott married Christopher, the son of the 17th Viscount of Arbuthnott, in April 2003.

Her family moved into Arbuthnott House at Laurencekirk in 2011 after the historic mansion underwent extensive refurbishment.

The Arbuthnott family have lived on the estate since Hugh de Swinton was granted the lands of Arbuthnott by King William the Lion in 1188.

His descendant Lord Arbuthnott, the 16th viscount and 33rd laird, died at the age of 87 in 2012.

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