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Prosecutors to appeal acquittal of Highland ‘boy racers’

'Boy racers' Callum Fraser and Colin Maclennan appeared at Inverness Justice Centre.
Pictured: Inverness Justice Centre

Prosecutors want “boy racers” acquitted of dangerous driving following a fatal road crash in the Highlands to face court once again.

Callum Fraser and Colin Maclennan were part of a wider group of young motorists who had met up in Dingwall on February 25, 2018.

The nine “hot hatch” drivers first travelled to Contin before continuing on the A835 towards Garve, driving “nose to tail” and engaging in dangerous overtaking manoeuvres.

At one stage Beauly 23-year-old Mikey Durdle was attempting to pass two other vehicles but, in doing so, clipped the car of 20-year-old Kyle Robertson.

The collision sent his Seat Leon careering off the road, over a railway line and into some trees.

Nearby members of the public – including a nurse, a former ambulance technician and a fire service station manager – rushed to try to help, but he was pronounced dead by a first-responding doctor soon after.

Last year Durdle appeared at the High Court in Aberdeen and was sentenced to three years behind bars for causing the death.

And in November Mr Fraser, 21, and 24-year-old Mr Maclennan appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court for a two-day trial in connection with the incident.

They both faced a charge accusing them of racing, jockeying for position, overtaking on blind bends and summits and driving at excessive speed.

But after hearing evidence from the prosecution, defence solicitors Sam Milligan and Willie Young argued there was no case to answer.

‘I hope you have learned your lesson from this tragedy’

Sheriff Sara Matheson said she was satisfied the Crown could not prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt” and found the pair not guilty.

But she added: “Racing around the Highlands will be treated seriously by the courts as it can lead to the loss of young lives.

“Although you have been found not guilty, you were part of this group and I hope you have learned your lesson from this tragedy.”

Court documents show the Crown now wishes to appeal the acquittal – a move which rarely occurs in the Scottish legal system.

A hearing of the Sheriff Appeal Court has been organised for Tuesday, February 23.

During the trial, prosecutors revealed Durdle’s Audi S3 had been travelling at more than 84mph, but decelerated to 76mph when it struck Mr Robertson’s Seat.

Witnesses told the sheriff they understood the group of motorists had been “chasing” each other along the stretch.

Beryl Sharp, 73, who had been travelling with her husband, told the court: “They were going so fast as they overtook us. I thought I was a goner.”

Meanwhile 56-year-old Jeanette Dickinson called them “boy racers” and said: “They were driving far too close to each other”.

‘A couple of miles later I came upon carnage’

Gritter driver Angus MacLellan was another motorist who was also overtaken by the drivers.

At the time of the incident, he estimated they had been travelling at 80-90mph.

He told the court: “It happened so quickly and on dangerous bends and blind summits.

“A couple of miles later I came upon carnage.”

When sentencing Durdle in April 2020, Lord Arthurson told him: “You are therefore going to prison today.

“But you will serve your sentence, regain your liberty, resume your work and continue with your life.

“You may in due course marry and have children and grandchildren.

“Mr Robertson will not do any of those things, due to your criminal conduct on February 25, 2018.

“His parents and siblings have sustained a grievous loss which no words expressed on your behalf by your senior counsel, no matter how sincerely meant these are, can ever heal.

“Indeed, no sentence which this court can pass upon you today can adequately measure or even begin to address the overwhelming and enduring scale of the pain which the family of Mr Robertson continue to endure.”

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