A jet-lagged motorist who crashed into a well-known Cullen handyman’s car and killed him has been spared jail.
Retired electrician Brian Lawrence died in the head-on crash on the A98 Buckie to Portsoy road, near the Findochty junction, in October 2016.
The 77-year-old’s wife, Marian, was also seriously injured.
Kenneth McKenzie previously admitted causing grandad Mr Lawrence’s death by driving carelessly, losing control of his car and crossing into the oncoming car.
The 52-year-old – who had just returned from Thailand to visit family in Portsoy when the crash happened – has no memory of the moments leading up to, or after, the crash.
However, the court previously heard that McKenzie had accepted he was suffering from jetlag the day before.
At Elgin Sheriff Court yeterday, Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov said no sentence imposed would bring Mr Lawrence’s family comfort.
She disqualified McKenzie from driving for 27 months and ordered him to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work.
Sheriff Pasportnikov said: “No sentence this court can pass would adequately offer closure to the Lawrence family.
“However, at the end of these proceedings it offers one less thing for them to worry about.”
The court heard that McKenzie lost control of his car by steering excessively, causing him to cross into the opposite carriageway and hit Mr Lawrence’s Rover 75 head-on.
The popular pensioner had to be cut out of the car by firefighters but despite receiving CPR at the scene, he could not be saved.
Defence advocate Gavin Anderson said his client was “truly sorry” and offered his “full, unequivocal sincere apology to everyone affected by the tragic events.”
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He said: “My client accepts that this incident happened due to a driving fault on his part as he applied excessive steering input and lost control.
“There are some unusual features to this case and even after detailed investigation these factors remain unclear and the reasons why he lost control to such an extent remains uncertain.
“The condition of his near side tyre and the road surface effects cannot be excused.”
Sheriff Pasportnikov told McKenzie: “There was a degree of carelessness that was not far short of dangerous and a moment of inattention caused you to slip onto the wrong side of the road.
“However, you accepted full responsibility and there was no evidence of fast or dangerous driving which is why I am not imposing a custodial sentence.”
Mr McKenzie’s family declined to comment on the sentence last night.