North-east man sentenced for crash that killed disabled cousin

© DC Thomson
Scott Riddell was spared jail during an appearance at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

A north-east man whose careless driving claimed his disabled cousin’s life has been spared jail.

Scott Riddell was on a day out with his “closest relative” when he lost control of his Audi S4 on June 18, 2016.

The 43-year-old crane operator’s car skidded from the A947 road between Banff and Turriff, ploughed through a field and wall and smashed into a house near Plaidy.

In the passenger seat was his cousin – said to have been “more like a brother” to him – who suffered fatal head injuries.

Riddell subsequently pleaded guilty to causing the accident which claimed the 58-year-old’s life.

During an appearance at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Sheriff William Summers told him he would have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life.

He accepted the accident had resulted from a momentary lapse in judgement and placed Riddell on a community payback order, requiring him to carry out the maximum 300 hours of unpaid work, as a direct alternative to prison.

The sheriff also banned him from driving for two years.

In the wake of the judgement, Leslie Stuart’s family issued a statement in which they said they had been left with”mixed emotions”.

It read: “Everyone has been left heartbroken and in a state of turmoil following Leslie’s death.

“Leslie was a wonderful son and brother and an incredible friend to those around him.

“Nothing and no one will ever replace him – nor can any words describe the thoughts and emotions we are all experiencing.”

Mr Stuart, from Aberdeen, kept in poor health and was reliant on a wheelchair, having had his left leg amputated below the knee in 2013.

On the day of the accident, he and his cousin had visited a family grave at Fyvie and were just a few miles from their chosen destination for an evening meal, in Turriff, when they crashed.

Accident investigators calculated that the right-hand bend on which Riddell lost control could not be safely negotiated at more than 71mph.

He was said to have been travelling at about 75mph.

Riddell, of Shannocks View, Turriff, subsequently admitted driving carelessly by going at excessive speed.

The court heard the married dad-of-one’s “dearest wish” was that he could “turn back the clock to June 18, 2016” and that his apologies “for what they are worth” were “entirely genuine”.

Sheriff Summers said: “This illustrates once again the dangers of driving at excess speed.

“I extend the court’s condolences to Mr Stuart’s family.”