Guilty of causing pensioner’s death in Douglas

Ayr Rd,  Douglas, in Lanarkshire
Ayr Rd, Douglas, in Lanarkshire

A driver who hit an elderly pedestrian in a minor collision outside a village shop has been convicted of causing the man’s death.

David Sked was found guilty at the end of a trial at Lanark Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Sentence was deferred for reports, and Sked (25) was disqualified from driving.

The accident happened on Ayr Road, Douglas, on July 28 2014. Sked was parked outside a shop, and Mr John Sykes (88) parked on the other side of the road and started to walk slowly across it.

He was behind Sked’s car when Sked reversed and struck him.

The court repeatedly saw CCTV of the accident, and the impact was described as the car having “touched” Mr Sykes, who fell to the ground.

The shopkeeper and Sked helped him up, and Sked drove him to Wishaw General and contacted his family, but Mr Sykes had broken his hip and he died later, after surgery for that.

Sked (25), of 7 Manse View Terrace, Douglas, denied causing the death of Mr Sykes by careless driving, and witnesses were called to comment on the timing of Sked getting into his car, closing the door and reversing.

Looking at the video, a police officer said that it seemed Sked had reversed without looking behind him.

Sked, a wind turbine technician, claimed in court that he had checked his mirrors and looked out the rear window before reversing.

But he had not been aware of Mr Sykes crossing the road.

Sked agreed with depute fiscal Michael McIntosh that the footage showed his movement was “instantaneous”, “one fluid motion.”

“When you close the door, you reverse,” said the fiscal.

Finding Sked guilty, Sheriff D O’Carroll told him: “This is a tragic case. A man has died, and you were involved in that.”

“The speed of the manoeuvre simply would not provide adequate time for you to carry out the observations you say you carried out.”

The sheriff deleted one reference from the charge, alleging Sked had reversed while closing the door.

The fiscal had described the the case as one where “a moment of carelessness results in the tragic and unintended loss of Mr Sykes’ life.

“The consequences are vastly out of proportion to the actions of the accused,” he said.

The Crown had taken the ‘almost unique’ decision to prosecute him at a summary level rather than at a jury trial; and deferring, the sheriff said Sked’s culpability was near the bottom of the scale.