Drunk driver who killed pensioner in hit and run jailed

John McManus (Pic by Ciaran Donnelly) The court heard McManus was five times the legal alcohol limit

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A drunk driver who knocked down and killed a pensioner while he was five times the legal alcohol limit has been jailed for six years.

John McManus, 42, mounted a pavement and struck 78-year-old Philip Taylor in New Stevenson, North Lanarkshire, in December 2008.

At an earlier hearing he also admitted failing to stop after the incident.

The level of alcohol in his blood was one of the highest ever recorded in a driver in Scotland.

The High Court in Livingston heard Mr Taylor and his wife has been nearing their golden wedding anniversary when McManus's hired Citroen Berlingo hit him as he walked along Coronation Road on 1 December 2008.

McManus, who ran his own courier firm, had only stopped drinking three hours before the collision, and had a quarter-bottle of vodka in his pocket when he was pulled over by police.

The court heard that on the day of the incident McManus had been dropping off parcels with a colleague, Stuart Kerr.

Start Quote

No sentence I can impose can undo the harm you did”

End Quote Lord Matthews Judge

McManus had complained of feeling unwell and dropped Mr Kerr off, saying he was going home to rest.

However, Mr Kerr later received a phone call from McManus who told him he had run over someone.

Mr Kerr told him to remain at the scene but McManus fled.

He was later stopped by police as he made his way back along Coronation Road in the van, which had a shattered windscreen.

Advocate depute Michael Stuart said that police noticed there was a strong smell of alcohol and he was slurring his speech.

Mr Stuart said: "He failed a breath test and was arrested and taken to Motherwell police office and searched."

The quarter bottle of vodka fell out of the accused's pocket during the search.

Family's pain

McManus had an alcohol level of 173 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.

Sentencing him, judge Lord Matthews said: "Because of the state you were in your vehicle mounted a pavement along which you drove for some 11.9 metres before striking and killing a much-loved husband and father.

"Then you drove off without rendering assistance. I have no doubt that you are devastated by what you have done, and that your own family will share that pain, but it pales into insignificance beside the consequences visited on Mr Taylor and his loved ones."

He added: "Mr Taylor had been married for 49 years and while 78 years of age he played an active part in his family's life and could have been expected to provide his love and support for years to come.

"No sentence I can impose can undo the harm you did."

McManus was also banned from driving for 10 years.

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