Glasgow & West Scotland

'Boy racer' jailed over Ayrshire crash deaths

Gary Nicholson Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Gary Nicholson admitted causing death by dangerous driving

A "boy racer" has been jailed for four years and six months for killing two people in a crash in East Ayrshire.

Gary Nicholson, 20, admitted causing the death of his 18-year-old passenger Alec Stewart and another car passenger, Patricia Brown, 52, by dangerous driving on the B769, near Stewarton.

Ewan Alvarez McLeod and Yung Lau, both 20, and Lee Copeland, 23, admitted dangerous driving prior to the fatal crash on 20 April 2014.

They received community payback orders.

Yung Lau, from Stewarton, was ordered to carry out 142 hours of unpaid work.

Alvarez McLeod, also from Stewarton, and Copeland, from Irvine, were ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

Nicholson was also banned from the road for five years. The three others were disqualified from driving for 12 months.

'Reckless disregard'

After all four were sentenced, Insp Dean Pennington said: "Their utterly selfish decision to drive on public roads in such a manner has shattered the lives of many families.

"This incident could have been easily avoided had this group of young men not driven dangerously and with reckless disregard for the lives of other road users."

A previous hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh was told that on the day of the crash, the accused and others had met in Stewarton and were planning to travel to a "car cruise" event in Irvine.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Patricia Brown died in the crash on 20 April 2014

During the journey, the cars driven by Lau, Nicholson and Alverez McLeod pulled away from the group and overtook a car driven by Peter Shaw with his wife and young child as passengers.

The court heard that Mr Shaw commented to his wife Caroline: "Boy racers, I'll let them get by."

About 20 seconds later Copeland also overtook the couple.

The convoy later came to a dip, where a passenger in Lau's car, Sean Beveridge, said: "We've hit the 100."

He saw a Peugeot approaching from the opposite direction being driven safely and on its side of the road.

999 call

As the convoy drove at speeds of up to 100mph, Nicholson lost control of his vehicle, which crossed over the centre lines and into the path of the Peugeot being driven by John Brown, with his wife Patricia as a passenger.

Mr Brown told the court he had become aware of a Corsa "skidding across the road" with "smoke belching from the wheels".

He performed an emergency braking procedure, but after their cars collided, Nicholson's vehicle then hit a tree and went into a field.

Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Ewan Alvarez McLeod, Lee Copeland and Yung Lau

Alvarez McLeod swerved to avoid the crashed vehicles and his car went onto its side. He managed to climb out and made a 999 call.

Mrs Brown was trapped in her car and died at the scene from a head injury.

When Mr Shaw arrived, he went to help Nicholson whose Corsa was in a field.

With the front of the car smoking and about to catch fire, Mr Shaw and another man pulled Alec Stewart from the wreckage.

The 18-year-old had sustained multiple injuries and later died in hospital.

Nicholson told police that the crash was his fault as he was "going too fast".

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