Death driver back on road

High Court in Edinburgh
High Court in Edinburgh

One of the men jailed following a crash which claimed the life of a young Hawick rugby player in 2009, has been given the chance to get his driving licence back early.

Murray McAllan, from Bonchester Bridge, was jailed for four and a half years and banned from driving for 12 years in 2010, but on Monday successfully had his bid to get his driving license back early granted at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He, alongside, Sean Goodfellow from Hawick, both then 19, had pled guilty to causing the death of 17-year-old Richard Wilkinson on April 4, 2009, on the A698 Kelso to Jedburgh road near Heiton.

But on Monday, McAllan was granted an application which allows him to start the process of attempting to regain his licence again, by the same judge who imposed detention on him in 2010.

Kenneth Maciver QC told McAllan that he had had to pay a price following the offence and served a period in custody.

He said: “I take the view that having served about six and a half years of the disqualification period the public have been adequately and properly protected as a result of the original sentence.”

He said he would allow McAllan’s application which would entitle him to begin the process of regaining his licence after sitting an extended test.

Remembering the case very well, he added: “It was obviously a very significant and serious matter.

“A young man died. He died after a car chase, a very high speed car chase in which you played your part.

“As I recall you were in the first car in the chase and the young man died in the car which was following a high speed.

“I noted that it was rare for this court to have to sentence persons of such good character and that was a feature of the case, that you and the other young man had not displayed any anti-social behaviour nor had any convictions of any type when you came before me in 2010.”

Solicitor advocate Philip Templeton said that McAllan, a service engineer, had not committeed any further offences and was seen as reliable in his duties by his employer, but that his inability to drive did impact on his ability to carry out certain tasks.

Mr Wilkinson, who had been playing in a rugby sevens tournament, was the front seat passenger in a Peugeot GTI driven by Goodfellow. McAllan was driving a Mitsubishi Colt and overtook him and another car and Goodfellow responded by passing that vehicle.

Approaching a bend, McAllan braked heavily, but kept his car on the road, however, Goodfellow’s vehicle left the road.

Mr Maciver told the drivers at the time of sentencing: “To drive at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour on such a road is complete folly.”

“To do so while engaging in a contest of speed, effectively a road race with another vehicle is indescribably stupid and dangerous,” he said.