Glasgow & West Scotland

Driver admits killing woman who was returning from son's wedding

Mary Laurie and scene of the crash Image copyright Police Scotland and Crown Office
Image caption Marie Laurie died at the scene of the crash

A 21-year-old drink driver has admitted causing the death of a woman by dangerous driving as she was on the way home from her son's wedding in Glasgow.

Marie Laurie, 57, from Easterhouse, had just got into a taxi when it was struck by a car, driven by Steven Bennie, who was being chased by police at the time.

She died at the scene of the crash, on Edinburgh Road, on 29 November 2015.

At the High Court in Glasgow, sentence on Bennie was deferred and he was remanded in custody.

Image caption Steven Bennie was remanded in custody after admitting causing death by dangerous driving

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Laurie's son, Martin Colquhoun, said the crash had "torn us apart" but added: "We're a very strong family and we'll get through these things."

He described his mother as "a very genuine woman" who "got on with everybody" and "loved her family".

Referring to Bennie, he said: "We saw the boy upset today. He's upset because he's got to go through his life knowing that he has taken someone's life.

"Hopefully he'll learn from his mistakes but this thing has happened before, it's nothing new.

"We all try to learn as much as we can and that's all we can do."

Image caption Mrs Laurie was on her way home from her son's wedding when the crash happened

The court heard that Mrs Laurie and her husband James had just seen her son, Mr Colquhoun, get married at a hotel in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, on Saturday 28 November last year.

As the couple celebrated, Bennie meanwhile turned up at a friend's house that night in a Vauxhall Astra.

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Media captionMarie Laurie's son says: 'Today was hard but we're moving on'

He lied that he had passed his driving test and the court was told that he only held a provisional licence.

Prosecutor Tim Niven Smith said "at some point" he drank alcohol and later drove to a McDonalds restaurant before eating food with a friend at an industrial estate in Glasgow's Baillieston area.

At 01:30 on Sunday 29 November, police stopped to investigate Bennie's car.

When Bennie saw the officers approach, he panicked and told the friend: "I've not got a licence." Bennie drove off and a police chase ensued.

He was ordered to pull over as police activated their blue lights and sounded sirens but continued on through the city's east end.

The court was told he drove "well in excess" of the speed limit, with his passenger estimating he was going at 80mph.

On hearing this, one of Mrs Laurie's family in court said: "She didn't stand a chance."

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Bennie's vehicle

Prosecutor Mr Niven Smith said Bennie's friend "repeatedly asked" to be let out, but he "ignored her requests".

Bennie went on to speed through a red light and had to dodge other cars.

The fatal crash occurred at a junction between Edinburgh Road and Springboig Road.

Just before the crash, Mr and Mrs Laurie been been dropped off in a minibus from the wedding and were getting into a black cab to take them to their home in Easterhouse.

The couple were not wearing seatbelts and Mr Laurie was initially standing up, trying to place his wife's flowers from the wedding on a seat.

Mr Niven Smith then explained: "Just as the taxi turned into Edinburgh Road, Bennie's vehicle came across the junction through the red light and collided with the taxi."

The cab spun and smashed into a pole. Mrs Laurie suffered fatal head and chest injuries as a result of the crash.

Her husband and the taxi driver had to be rescued by fire officers. Bennie's friend also had to be freed from his car.

Bennie was questioned by police and "became extremely upset" when told how serious the crash was.

Tests revealed he had 71mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood at the time of the incident. The legal limit is 50mg.

Bennie, of the city's Shettleston, also pleaded guilty to drink driving and having no insurance.

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