• STV
  • MySTV

Driver who killed cyclist while on phone then deleted call is jailed

Cyclist Alistair Speed died on the A91 in Fife in 2013 after being hit by Julie Watson.

Alistair Speed who died when he was knocked off his bike on the A91 in Fife.
Allan Fotheringham

A motorist who killed a cyclist when using her mobile phone while driving then deleted the incriminating call has been jailed for five years.

Julie Watson, 36, deleted a record of the call and phoned 999 to summon emergency services after she collided with Alistair Speed.

The mother-of-two was found guilty of causing the death of Mr Speed, 49, on the A91 road between Strathmiglo and Gateside, in Fife, on September 5 in 2013 by dangerous driving.

She was also convicted of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by deleting a record of a call she made just before the 999 call.

Watson, of Junction Road, Kinross, was on bail throughout her trial at the High Court in Edinburgh but after the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts the judge told her she now had serious convictions.

On Wednesday, judge Lord Kinclaven jailed Watson for a total of five years at the High Court in Glasgow.

He told her: "You have demonstrated remorse which I accept is genuine for causing Mr Speed's death and you are well aware of the devastation that has been caused to Mr Speed's family and indeed all those who knew him."

The judge said that while driving, "the use of a mobile phone has the capacity to wreck lives and literally kill".

He added: "Use of a handheld mobile phone is in itself an unlawful act.

"The fact an offender is avoidably distracted by the use of a mobile phone when committing an offence of this sort will always make an offence more serious."

Watson was also disqualified from driving for ten years and will have to sit an extended driving test if she wants to return to the roads.

Mr Speed, a Tesco supervisor who lived at Canmore Walk, Glenrothes, Fife, died from severe head injuries in the incident.

He was a long-standing member of Fife Century Road Club and had taken part in his last event the previous day.

Mr Speed's sister, Mhairi Laffoley, 48, said the effect of the incident on her family had been "horrendous".

Parents

She told the court: "My parents died within 12 weeks of the accident. It will never be the same. He was everything to us.

"Alistair started riding his bike on the road as a seven-year-old boy. He started competing as a cyclist from the age of 12. He was a very, very competent cyclist.

"He was very steady. He didn't take risks. I entrusted him to take my son out on his bike from the age of nine and a half."

Following the collision, passing off-duty firefighters tried to go to the aid of Mr Speed who was left in a large pool of blood.

The court heard that Watson was driving her Vauxhall Corsa behind another car driven by her mother

After the incident, another driver who had stopped spoke to Watson and she said she did not know how she had hit the cyclist because she had seen her mother indicate to pass him.

She told police that "maybe I misjudged the distance I was giving him".

She said her mobile phone was in the pocket of her jeans and added: "The first time I took the phone out was to phone for an ambulance."

But evidence was led that a phone call had been made shortly before the 999 call from the device.

Advocate depute Jim Keegan QC said the results of the crash had been "catastrophic".

The prosecutor said: "The use of a mobile phone, especially calling out, is a conscious, wilful act. The use of a phone when driving, a hand-held phone, is an offence."

Mr Keegan said there was no need to make a call at the time and that there was no emergency at that point.

The prosecutor told jurors that Watson had used her phone, paid no attention to the road and crashed into Mr Speed before trying to cover it up.

Solicitor advocate Gordon Martin, defending, said: "She is genuinely remorseful over what happened in September 2013 to the late Mr Speed."

"She has not worked since the accident simply because she finds it difficult to come to terms with what has happened to Mr Speed."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.