Death-crash surgeon escapes jail sentence
A surgeon whose momentary lapse of concentration caused a fatal head-on crash has escaped a prison sentence.
Alexander McAuslan's Land Rover Discovery Sport crashed into Rodica Pamphilon's Ford Fiesta on the A68 in Midlothian on 5 August 2016.
Mrs Pamphilon, a Romanian woman who lived in Ormiston, East Lothian, died from serious head and chest injuries.
At the High Court in Livingston, McAuslan was banned from driving and ordered to carry out unpaid work.
Judge Lord Burns said that a custodial sentence was not in the public interest.
McAuslan, 65, of Edgehead, Dalkeith, admitted driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for others, failing to pay proper attention to the road in front of him, crossing onto the opposing carriageway and colliding with the Fiesta.
'Failed to react'
Euan Dow, defending, told the court that his client was driving home from work at Borders General Hospital, in Melrose, when the accident happened near Fordel Mains.
He said: "The left hand bend had not long commenced before the collision occurred. It would appear that a very few seconds of attention, however inexplicable, were involved.
"For some reason the accused has failed to react to a gentle deviation to the left then failed to react to the imminent impact with the deceased's motor vehicle.
"It's Mr McAuslan's position - and has been from the outset - that he has no recollection at all of the collision and the moments immediately preceding it. He's unable to provide any explanation as to why he did not successfully negotiate the left hand bend.
"The circumstances do not suggest this is a case where the accused fell asleep. He was not tired, he was not overworked.
"All witness statements suggest he was driving appropriately with the exception of those few seconds which clearly led to the tragic circumstances."
Mr Dow said the accused had been seriously injured in the crash and did not regain consciousness until he was in hospital being treated for broken ribs and a broken ankle.
He added: "He has repeatedly expressed remorse, and those expressions of remorse are genuine and heartfelt.
"He acknowledges impact his conduct has had on the family of the deceased. He's had years of dealing with family members of those with life threatening and life changing injuries."
Lord Burns said he accepted that McAuslan had "demonstrated genuine remorse".
He added: "You'll have to live with the consequences of ending another person's life.
"Nothing you can do - and nothing this court can do - can bring comfort to Mrs Pamphilon's family who mourn her and will have to continue to try and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of her death."
He ordered McAuslan to carry out 275 hours of unpaid work within nine months and banned him from driving for three years and nine months.