Man jailed for killing cousin's 12-year-old daughter in road crash

28 June 2019, 13:35 | Updated: 28 June 2019, 13:37


A father-of-seven whose dangerous driving caused the death of his cousin's daughter has been jailed for five years.

Martin McGuire, 39, was driving at 51mph in a 30mph zone when he hit 12-year-old Abbie McLaren as she crossed the road after getting off a bus in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, on February 12.

The force of the collision threw her on to a parked car, inflicting multiple injuries, and she was pronounced dead in hospital that evening.

Abbie's father Adam McLaren, who is McGuire's cousin, was a front seat passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

A court heard McGuire - who has never held a driving licence - had been "showing off" the car's capabilities on the day of the collision.

Roofer McGuire admitted causing Abbie's death by dangerous driving, as well as driving without a licence or insurance, when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow last month.

Judge Lady Scott imposed the five-year jail term and an eight-and-a-half year driving ban when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh for sentencing on Friday.

She said: "Abbie McLaren was 12 years old. She was a child with her whole life ahead of her.

"She was well-loved by her close family, especially her mum, brothers and sisters and her grandparents.

"All have been left devastated and will be forever bereft."

One man left court before the judge had finished her statement, exclaiming about the length of sentence imposed.

In May, prosecutor Alex Prentice QC told the court that McGuire was driving his daughter's car and picked up Abbie's father at around 4pm on the day in question.

At 4.08pm, Abbie got off a bus on The Loaning with a friend, having arranged to meet her and go to a shop.

Mr Prentice said McGuire and Mr McLaren were not aware of the arrangement and it was "purely coincidence that all parties were passing through" the same area at the same time.

After getting off the bus, Abbie and a friend waited for traffic to clear at the rear of the vehicle and then began to cross.

The friend stopped halfway across, but Abbie continued to run across and was struck by the accused's vehicle, which was heading south.

Mr Prentice said: "The speed at which the car was travelling at caused Abbie McLaren to be projected forward on to a nearby parked car, which caused extensive damage to the car and fatal injuries to Abbie McLaren.

Following the crash, McGuire stopped the vehicle and remained at the scene.

The court heard Abbie, a pupil at Dalziel High School in Motherwell, suffered multiple skull fractures with bleeding into and around her brain, as well as fractures to other bones including her lower cervical spine.

Mr Prentice said McGuire was travelling "well in excess" of the speed limit and there was nothing obscuring his view in the car, and no reason for him not to see Abbie just before the collision.

Jim Keegan QC, defending, told the court on Friday that McGuire had experience of off-road driving but has never held a driving licence.

McGuire, who has six previous convictions for driving offences, has vowed never to drive again, the court was told.

Mr Keegan, who described the death as a tragedy, said McGuire had been "showing off to his cousin" at the time and was deliberately driving over the speed limit.

The driving ban imposed will commence when he is two and a half years in to his sentence.