Highlands & Islands

Woman, 94, denies causing death of cyclist Elaine Dunne

A 94-year-old woman has denied causing the death of a cyclist by driving dangerously.

Alice Ross, of Lybster in Caithness, is thought to be the oldest person to have been prosecuted in Scotland.

It is alleged she drove onto the wrong side of the A99 Wick to John O'Groats road on 21 September 2011.

Ms Ross is claimed to have mounted a verge, driven along a pavement and hit Elaine Dunne, 30 from Glenfield, Leicester.

Mrs Dunne and her husband Christopher, who was severely injured, were on a week-long holiday in Scotland to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

They had been standing with their bikes at the time of the incident.

Medical condition

Ms Ross was excused from attending a brief hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh. Defence QC Ian Duguid said she pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The lawyer also told judge Lord Bannatyne that Ms Ross blamed a medical condition for what happened at Auckengill, near Keiss.

She has a special defence of automatism. The document lodged in court claims she was unconscious at the time.

A medical condition, which was not self-induced and not foreseeable, caused a fall in blood pressure which led to a "profound faint", the document said.

Trial date

Mr Duguid said investigations were continuing, involving a consultant neurologist and consultant cardiologist.

He asked for more time to continue preparations before a trial date was fixed.

The case is due back in court next month and Ross has again been excused attendance.

Mr Duguid said: "She is 94 years of age. She lives in Caithness and the difficulties for her in travelling to the court are substantial."