A death crash driver who pulled out in front of a double-decker bus has been jailed for 11 months.
Marin Rachev blamed a “moment of inattention” for the horrific crash which killed three of his friends on March 12 last year.
Passengers Zaharina Hristova, 37, her husband Silyan Stefanov, 42, and Dimitar Georgiev, 32, all died in the collision on the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee road, at the Drumlithie junction.
They were not wearing seatbelts and Ms Hristova and Mr Stefanov were thrown from the car into the path of another vehicle.
Rachev’s sister-in-law Ivanka Dobreva suffered serious injuries.
During a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen, Rachev said he was haunted by the tragedy and yesterday his lawyer said the nightmares he suffered amounted to a “life sentence” for him.
At the High Court in Livingston, defence counsel Frances Connor said her 35-year-old client – who was convicted of death by careless driving – thought he had sufficient time to reach the central reservation before the bus reached his red Renault Megane.
She said: “It’s clear he misjudged the speed at which the bus was travelling. It’s also clear from the evidence that he misjudged it by seconds.
“His car was about three quarters of the way into the central reservation when the collision occurred.”
She added: “He’s unable to step back from the nightmares and the horror to have any degree of partiality about what happened. It may take time.
“The evidence would indicate that this was an isolated, momentary mistake by Mr Rachev.
“Expert evidence was that if the occupants had been wearing seatbelts then the likelihood is that they would all have survived.
“That’s not to distract from the mistake made, but it makes the deaths all the more tragic.”
She called for judge Lord Kinclaven to be lenient, arguing Rachev had served the equivalent of a 13-month prison sentence on remand last year and had been returned to custody following the verdict last month.
As her client wept in the dock, she continued: “I say there is no public interest to be served by a further custodial sentence, indeed the community and society would be better served if Rachev was put to work to make amends.”
But Lord Kinclaven said there was no alternative to jail, measuring up the “degree of culpability” and the harm caused.
“In your case that includes taking into account the carnage that was caused and the loss of several lives” he said.
“Three people lost their lives – that’s an aggravating factor – and in addition one person was severely injured. I also have the benefit of three victim impact statements setting out the emotional, psychological and financial impacts of your offence.”
He jailed Bulgarian national Rachev for 11 months and disqualified him for three years. He will also have to retake his driving test.