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Driver killed man who moved to Scotland for better life

Eric Finlayson caused David Gaspar's death by dangerous driving in Edinburgh.

High Court: Eric Finlayson jailed for three and a half years.
High Court: Eric Finlayson jailed for three and a half years. PA

A motorist caused the death by dangerous driving of a Hungarian immigrant who had come to Scotland for a better life.

Eric Finlayson, 59, of Dumbeg Park, Edinburgh, was behind the wheel of his Vauxhall Mokka when it collided with a Ford Fusion being driven by EU national David Gaspar on January 1, 2016.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how in the moments before the collision, Finlayson was driving at 65mph in a 30mph zone.

Mr Gaspar, 20, was working as a takeaway driver at the time of the crash and was being helped by a 13-year-old boy.

He moved to Edinburgh in September 2015 and was living with relatives at a house in Barn Park, Wester Hailes.

The Hungarian was turning right from the junction at the Dumbryden Drive at 6.40pm on to Murrayburn Road and should have seen Finlayson's car approaching from his right.

Finlayson was driving at such a speed, however, that Mr Gaspar did not have time to react.

His vehicle struck his car, injuring the 13-year-old passenger. Mr Gaspar suffered a serious head injury and medics at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary were forced to remove his spleen in a bid to save his life.

His condition continued to deteriorate and he died on January 11. His parents had flown out from Hungary to be at his side.

On Tuesday, judge Lord Boyd jailed Finlayson for three and a half years.

He told Finlayson: "This was a young man who had his life ahead of him and who lost that life as a result of your dangerous driving. Nothing I can do or say and no sentence I can pass can compensate for his loss.

"The charge narrates that at the time of the impact you were travelling at excessive speeds of up to 65mph. 

"The speed limit is 30mph. It is clear that the accident would not have occurred had you been travelling within the speed limit."

'(Mr Gaspar's parents) only let him move to the UK so that he could try to have a better life and felt he had better chances of this in Great Britain.'
Prosetor Iain McSporran QC

Last month, prosecution lawyer Iain McSporran QC told the court Mr Gaspar's family allowed him to leave Hungary in an attempt to give him a better life.

He added: "They state he was only 20 years old at the time of his death. Prior to moving to the UK he had always stayed within the family home.

"They indicate they only let him move to the UK so that he could try to have a better life and felt he had better chances of this in Great Britain."

Mr McSporran said Mr Gaspar spent had spent that New Year's Day delivering takeaway meals. 

A young boy was sitting in the passenger's seat putting postcodes into a satnav.

The boy's passenger's injuries as a result of the crash were not life-threatening but Mr Gaspar suffered multiple fractures, a ruptured spleen, a punctured lung and severe swelling on his brain.

On Tuesday, defence advocate Mark Stewart QC told the court his client was sorry for his actions. 

The court heard Finlayson was unable to explain why he was travelling at such excessive speeds.

Mr Stewart said: "He is not someone who would normally be taking chances when driving. At the time of the collision, he was performing a simple errand for another person.

"He obliged as a favour and it had terrible and tragic consequences."

Lord Boyd also banned Finlayson from driving for seven years. The accused will have to sit a test before he is able to drive again.

He added: "I take into account the fact there are no other aggravating features such as consumption of alcohol or using a mobile phone.

"Indeed you appear not to be able to explain how or why you came to travelling at such an excessive speed.

"But I do not accept that you were unaware of your speed, which must have been obvious to you."

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