A MOTORIST whose careless driving in the Borders caused the death of a great-grandmother has avoided a prison sentence.
“A momentary lapse of attention” by 69-year-old Keith Atkinson resulted in a four-vehicle crash on the A72 near Innerleithen on March 1 last year.
Annie Notman, 82, from Biggar, died as a result of her injuries a day after the collision. Two other people were severely injured.
Atkinson’s lawyer Ross Dow told Selkirk Sheriff Court that Atkinson, from Balgreen in Edinburgh, was early for an appointment and decided to pull into a lay-by.
Mr Dow explained his client noticed nothing was coming in the opposite direction and indicated right but was distracted by a vehicle pulling out the lay-by.
When that was clear Atkinson moved to turn into the lay-by but never checked again for any oncoming traffic and caused the crash with the vehicle carrying Mrs Notman.
Mr Dow said: “It was a momentary lapse of attention.
“There was no excessive speeding, he was not in a rush.
“He has shown genuine remorse and has said he has no intention of driving a vehicle again.”
Mr Dow said reports stated the retired carer was at low risk of re-offending having been driving for 52 years.
Sheriff Peter Paterson said he accepted the consequences had been devastating for Mrs Notman’s family.
But he had to weigh this up against the level of criminality involved which in this case was a momentary lapse of concentration.
Sheriff Paterson added: “This is the difficulty the court has.
“There are no other aggravating factors apart from the tragic death and the injury to others.
“Mr Atkinson has led a blameless life and for those reasons I am going to follow the recommendation in the Criminal Justice Social Work Report and impose a community-based disposal.
As a direct alternative to custody Sheriff Paterson imposed a nighttime home curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am and banned Atkinson from driving for one year.
He will need to sit the extended test if he wants to drive again.