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Speeding drink-driver killed pensioner at Aberdeen bus stop then fled the scene and went to the pub

Martin Henderson
Martin Henderson

A speeding drink-driver has admitted killing a pensioner at a bus stop before fleeing the scene – later telling police his car had been stolen.

Martin Henderson was driving into Aberdeen after being at the pub in Inverurie when he ploughed into the bus stop in Bucksburn on November 9 last year.

Father-of-three Allan Forbes, 70, who was waiting for a bus to go and meet his son, suffered “catastrophic” injuries and died at the scene while 18-year-old Chloe Donaldson was seriously injured.

Henderson fled to the nearby Staging Post pub before making his way home to Inverurie, where police later found him asleep on the couch.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, the 30-year-old was told his driving had been “appalling” and not just a “momentary lapse”.

The court heard that after meeting a colleague in Inverurie for drinks, the pair headed towards town. Henderson was spotted driving his BMW 320 at 97mph in a 40mph zone, and it is estimated he was doing 67mph just before the crash, which happened in a 30mph area.

Judge Lord Mulholland told Henderson he had made his car a “lethal weapon”, adding: “It is appalling driving for quite some distance, involving speeding, going through a red light, undertaking, overtaking when it is unsafe to do so, all while you are under the influence of alcohol.

“You have taken a life and given that poor family a life sentence.”

He added that Miss Donaldson had suffered a “horrific injury”, which resulted in having a metal plate and pins inserted into her leg.

Engineering supervisor Henderson, who dabbed at his eyes with a tissue as he stood in the dock, has six previous driving convictions and been banned three times for speeding, drink-driving and careless driving.

He  admitted causing the death of Mr Forbes and severe injury to Miss Donaldson by driving dangerously on the A96 Inverurie to Aberdeen road, attempting to pervert the course of justice by leaving the collision scene, and falsely reporting his car was stolen.

Advocate depute Graeme Jessop said Henderson had lost control on a bend due to “consuming alcohol and the excessive speed at which he was driving”.

He hit a Nissan Pixo, which went into the central reservation, although both occupants were unharmed. The BMW then hit the pavement and crashed into the bus shelter where retired bus driver Mr Forbes and Miss Donaldson were waiting.

A breath test revealed he had 78 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 22mcg.

Henderson, of Threave Circle, Inverurie, was remanded in custody for the preparation of background reports. He will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow later this month.

After the hearing, Mr Forbes’s family said in a statement: “The loss of Allan has devastated us and it has left a huge gap in our family that will never be filled.

“We are glad justice has been done and it means our family can focus on healing.”

Sergeant Craig McNeill, from the roads policing team, welcomed the conviction and said Henderson’s behaviour both before and after the incident was “shocking”.

“Our investigation led to his quick arrest however it was a tragic incident where innocent people had to suffer because of his actions,” he said. “I would like to pay tribute to both families affected by this and the impact it has had on their lives.

“The dangers of driving both dangerously and under the influence of alcohol are well known, it is totally unacceptable and there is no reasonable excuse for it.”

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