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Teenager grabbed steering wheel of bus taking revellers home

William Duff was sentenced to four months detention at Perth Sheriff Court.

Perth Sheriff Court GV
STV

A teenager who endangered the lives of 70 passengers on a bus travelling back from a nightclub in Dundee by grabbing the steering wheel has been jailed.

A sheriff told William Duff the potential consequences of his act were "too terrible" to imagine and had only been averted by the quick reactions of driver Lee Buckley.

Perth Sheriff Court was told how the coach veered across the dual carriageway as drunken Duff grappled with the driver.

Sheriff Michael Fletcher said: "The consequences of your actions, but for the actions of the driver of the bus, could have been very serious indeed.

"There was a very large number of young people on the bus and no doubt most were under the influence of alcohol. If that bus had gone off the road or collided with anything else the consequences would have been too terrible to think about.

"I have come to the conclusion that I cannot deal with this any other way than by a custodial sentence."

Duff was sentenced to four months detention.

Coach company managing director Mr Buckley had to kick Duff, then 19, away during the incident on the late night trip home from Fat Sams nightclub in Dundee.

He regained control of the bus and was eventually led back into Perth by a police escort. When the bus stopped, Duff, now 21, tried to flee by jumping out of the emergency exit.

Duff, of Lewis Place, Perth, was found guilty of culpably and recklessly endangering the lives of people on a bus by grabbing the steering wheel. He was found guilty of causing Mr Buckley to lose control and veer about the carriageway on the A90 between Dundee and Perth, near Glendoick, on December 29, 2011.

Mr Buckley told the court he had collected 70 people from Fat Sams at 3am to take them back to Perth and was on the dual carriageway when Duff approached from the back of the bus.

"I noticed someone coming towards me and they sat in the crew seat beside me. I switched on the interior driver's light so the CCTV camera could get a better view in case something happened.

"He started speaking to me. I had never seen him before. He was talking about money but I didn't know what he meant. He was away with it.

"He got up and turned round and said 'I'm going to drive,' grabbed the steering wheel and pulled it down to the left. I managed to get him off quite quick."

Solicitor David Holmes, defending, said Duff had been using cannabis from a very young age and was so drunk on the night in question that he did not realise why he had been arrested.

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