Robbie Gemmell admits causing friends' deaths in crash

Josh James-Stewart (left), Jenna Barbour (middle) and David Armstrong (right) Josh James-Stewart (left), Jenna Barbour (middle) and David Armstrong (right) died in the accident

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A teenager who was not legally old enough to drive has admitted causing the death of his three friends in a crash in East Lothian.

Robbie Gemmell was at the wheel of the Peugeot 206 when it left the road and hit a wall in Tyninghame last November.

Jenna Barbour, 18, Josh Stewart, 16 and David Armstrong, 15, were all killed.

Gemmell pled guilty to causing death while driving without due care and attention. Sentencing was deferred until next month.

Members of the victims' families were at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for the hearing.

The crash happened on an unclassified road at 20:25 on 25 November.

Gemmell, who was 16 at the time, was the driver of the car and was treated in hospital after surviving the collision.

The court heard that he originally told police officers that he was a front seat passenger in the car.

Robbie Gemmell Robbie Gemmell was at the wheel of the Peugeot 206 when it left the road and hit a wall in Tyninghame last November

Accident investigators estimated the Peugeot was travelling at a minimum of 50-54mph in the moments before the crash.

Prosecution lawyer Graeme Jessop said that Gemmell confessed to his father that he had in fact been driving the car, while he was in hospital recovering from his injuries.

Start Quote

This tragic incident reinforces the extensive risks of an inexperienced person not legally old enough to possess a driving licence, getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle”

End Quote Insp Richard Latto Police Scotland

Mr Jessop added: "The accused became upset and started to cry. His father, Mark Gemmell, asked him if he had something to say and he said 'Dad I was driving the car'."

Mr Jessop told the court that the car involved in the collision belonged to Jenna Barbour. At some point in the evening, Gemmell took over driving from Miss Barbour.

After hearing the circumstances of the case, Sheriff Liddle extended his sympathy to everybody who has been involved in the incident.

Deferring sentence in order for the court to obtain reports, the sheriff added: "I do not want to deal with this case but it is my duty."

Jenna Barbour had just left Dunbar Grammar School after completing sixth year.

Josh Stewart, David Armstrong and Gemmell were all 5th year pupils at the school.

Insp Richard Latto, of Police Scotland, said: "This single-vehicle road collision resulted in the deaths of three young people.

"All were from the Dunbar community and our thoughts are with the families affected by this tragic incident.

"An extensive police enquiry was carried out to determine the cause of this collision, and a detailed police report submitted to the procurator fiscal."

He added: "This tragic incident reinforces the extensive risks of an inexperienced person not legally old enough to possess a driving licence, getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle."

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