Lorry driver who killed former councillor in horror crash avoids jail sentence

A South Tyneside lorry driver who admitted killing a former Scottish councillor in a horror crash has been spared jail. Keith Murray ploughed into 77-year-old Barbara Vaughan’s car after failing to react to a traffic queue on the A9 near Blair Atholl, Perthshire in December 2017. Barbara, a once well-known Perth and Kinross Conservative councillor, died in hospital after failing to recover from her injuries.

Murray, of Jarrow , was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving. He avoided a jail sentence and was instead banned from the road for six years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work. A judge heard how the 49-year-old has vowed never to get behind the wheel again.

Barbara was travelling in her Renault Megane on the afternoon of the crash. Murray was on the A9 meantime working as a long distance HGV driver. Prosecutor Angela Gray told how roadworks caused a “long line” of traffic.

As a result, motorists – including Barbara – had to stop. But one driver noticed Murray approaching in his Mercedes lorry and appearing not to slow down.

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Miss Gray said: “For some unknown reason, he failed to react to the stationary traffic.” Murray crashed into the window’s car, causing it to hurtle down an embankment.

Barbara became trapped in her upturned vehicle. Two doctors in the area raced out to her aid and the pensioner was eventually freed before being airlifted to hospital in Dundee. She had several broken ribs and cuts to her leg.

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Tragically, Barbara’s condition worsened after suffering a collapsed lung and she died on December 4.

Murray’s lawyer Barry Smith told the court: “He has no wish to return to driving as a consequence. He said he did not feel tired or unwell that day. However, he failed to observe the queuing traffic or react until it was sadly too late.

“He cannot explain that lapse, but he clearly struggles with the inability to explain his actions.”

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The advocate added Murray had also shown “sincere regret”.

Lord Arthurson imposed a community payback order which involves unpaid work and two years supervision.

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