Glasgow & West Scotland

Killer driver Andrew Duffy faces jail over George Sweeney's death

Carwood Street, Greenock Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption Duffy lost control of his car on a bend in Carwood Street, Greenock

A man who caused the death of an elderly motorist by dangerous driving five months after passing his test has been told to expect a prison sentence.

Andrew Duffy, 31, lost control of a neighbour's Volvo V70 in Carwood Street, Greenock, in November 2011.

The car swerved on to the wrong side of the road and hit a Peugeot 206 being driven by 76-year-old George Sweeney.

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lord Matthews deferred sentence but told Duffy a jail term was likely.

The trial heard how Duffy, from Greenock, Inverclyde, was travelling to his fiancee's house at about 19:30 on 8 November 2011, when the crash happened.

'Reckless and stupid'

The court was told that Duffy, who seconds earlier had overtaken two cars at speed in nearby Dunlop Street, lost control control of the Volvo on a left-hand bend in Carwood Street.

Bus driver James McLees, who saw the earlier overtaking manoeuvre by Duffy, said in evidence: "I thought his driving was reckless and stupid. I thought to myself he's going to kill someone or himself if he crashes."

Mr Sweeney suffered broken ribs and a fractured breastbone in the crash and was taken to Inverclyde Royal Hospital, Greenock, where he later died.

Pathologist Kerryanne Shearer told the court that Mr Sweeney died due to chest injuries caused by the crash.

Police officer Susan McLennan said Duffy told her that he had had trouble with the steering of the Volvo - a Motability car belonging to a neighbour.

She said: "He said he believed the collision was his fault, but added: 'That's what insurance is for.'"

'Too late'

But she agreed with defence counsel Thomas Ross that Duffy did not know at the time that Mr Sweeney was dead.

In evidence, Duffy was asked when he saw Mr Sweeney's car and replied: "When the car slid I saw the headlights. There was nothing I could do, it was too late."

Duffy said he felt devastated when he was told Mr Sweeney had died.

Judge Lord Matthews allowed Duffy bail to get his affairs in order, but added: "A custodial sentence is the likely outcome."

He deferred sentence until next month for background reports and banned Duffy from driving in the interim.

The court heard that Duffy has a number of previous convictions, including road traffic offences and assault and robbery.

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