A drink driver who caused a “tragic” fatal accident which destroyed the lives of north-east newly-weds has been jailed for four years.
Businessman Russell McKeever lost control of his powerful Audi A6 and ploughed head-on into Colin Taylor’s Citroen Picasso, killing him and the his pet terrier, Kola, who was sitting beside him.
Mr Taylor’s wife Julie – who was travelling in the back seat because she was a “nervous passenger” – was left trapped in the wreckage beside her dead husband.
As she was comforted by members of her family outside the High Court at Livingston yesterday following the sentencing, Mrs Taylor, from Stonehaven, said she was “very upset” by the outcome.
“We’re all disappointed that it wasn’t enough of a sentence,” she said.
In addition to the prison term, McKeever, 42, who already had nine penalty points on his licence, was disqualified from driving for six years and eight months and ordered to pass the extended driving test.
Judge Lord Armstrong said a victim impact statement provided by Mrs Taylor had been “eloquent in its terms”.
He explained how the couple had got married just a short time before the crash after spending 30 years together as life partners.
Mr Taylor, 59, had died instantly from “massive, un-survivable injuries” while his wife suffered broken bones in every limb and had to undergo more than 12 hours of surgery.
She now walks with a stick, still takes painkillers every day and is tormented by flashbacks and nightmares.
The court had heard how McKeever had been at a pub in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, for a noon lunch with his ex-wife and her friend.
He had one glass of wine in the pub, but went back to the friend’s home after stopping at a supermarket to buy more alcohol.
By the time he left the friend’s house, abruptly and without any explanation, McKeever was drunk.
When he was tested by police at 7.14pm – four hours after the crash on the A933 Brechin-Arbroath road on October 31 last year – he gave an alcohol reading of 226. The limit at the time was 80.
Yesterday Chris Fyffe, defending, said the father-of-three, from Dundee, was filled with “genuine remorse” and regret and had not driven since the incident despite being on bail.
Lord Turnbull told McKeever he recognised from testimonial letters that he was a respected member of the local community and was assessed as at low risk of re-offending.
However, he said there was no alternative to a custodial disposal.