Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Farmer Russell Graham who killed OAP in crash jailed for six months

Russell Graham Image copyright Alan Richardson
Image caption Russell Graham pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving on the A92 road in Freuchie

A tractor driver who killed a pensioner in a Fife road crash following a "dangerous and reckless" manoeuvre has been jailed for six months.

Russell Graham was also banned from driving for three years for causing the death of Catherine Armitt, 73.

Graham, 19, from Auchtermuchty, Fife, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving on the A92 road in Freuchie on 18 February 2015.

A sheriff told Graham: "This fell not far short of dangerous driving."

The farmer was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Graham was driving a tractor towards nearby Kettlebridge when he pulled out from the junction of a minor road on the the main A92 road without stopping.

Despite the stop sign at the junction, Graham drove his New Holland tractor into the path of a Ford Fiesta being driven by Mrs Armitt's daughter, Angela Packer, 48.

She tried to slow from 40mph but ploughed straight into the side of the agricultural vehicle.

Mrs Armitt was left with fractures to her ribs, spine and sternum as well as bruising to her heart and lungs and died the following day from her injuries.

'Flying out'

One witness told police at the scene of the crash: "He drove straight across the junction - he never stopped or anything.

"I've been driving for 30 years and I'm 100% sure the tractor driver was at fault. He came flying out - it was dangerous and reckless."

Graham's lawyer said he had been badly affected by the crash and had been for counselling as a result.

Defence advocate Susan Duff said: "He and his family have asked me to express their deepest condolences to Mrs Armitt's family.

"The circumstances of her death have almost overwhelmed him."

She added: "There are two families whose lives have been changed forever by this accident and if Russell Graham could change what happened, he would in an instant.

"He will live with this for the rest of his life and he knows his actions took Mrs Armitt away from her loving family.

"He is a decent young man who made a very bad momentary error of judgement."

Sheriff Elizabeth Munro said: "I am satisfied this was careless driving falling not far short of dangerous driving and carries a custodial sentence.

"It would be inappropriate to sentence you to a lengthy period, but given the circumstances of the driving and its outcome, it will result in a custodial sentence."

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