Glasgow & West Scotland

Woman killed in Ballantrae crash by driver speeding to catch ferry

William Kennedy Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption William Kennedy killed Patricia McIlwraith and seriously injured her husband Robert

A driver who reached speeds of more than 100mph while trying to catch a ferry killed a woman and seriously injured her husband in a head-on crash.

William Kennedy, 48, was on the wrong side of the road when he hit Patricia and Robert McIlwraith's car.

Mrs McIlwraith, 49, did not survive the crash on the A76 near Ballantrae, Ayrshire, in July 2018.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Kennedy, of Drongan, admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

The charge also stated Mr McIlwraith was left severely injured and permanently impaired.

Mr McIlwraith, who had to be airlifted to hospital, suffered a broken spine, two punctured lungs and kidney damage.

There had initially been fears he may never walk again.

Following his guilty plea, Kennedy was remanded in custody pending sentencing later this month.

Shopping trip

The court was told Kennedy had made a booking for himself and three others to travel on the Cairnryan to Larne ferry on 7 July 2018.

Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Patricia McIlwraith was killed in the crash which left her husband, Robert, with life-changing injuries.

Prosecutor Greg Farrell said: "It can reasonably be inferred that at the time of the collision, he was in a hurry to make the ferry."

Other motorists clocked him going at "grossly excessive" speeds in his Ford Ranger pick-up.

Mr Farrell added: "At 14:32 - three minutes before the collision - Kennedy reached in excess of 100mph."

The McIlwraiths - who had been married for 28 years and have two daughters - had been returning from a shopping trip to Stranraer.

They lived in Colmonell, Ayrshire.

Blind bend

Kennedy ended up on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend before crashing into the McIlwraiths' oncoming Ford Fusion.

He was said to have been going at 64mph - above the 50mph limit - at the time.

Two passing doctors rushed to help the couple.

Mrs McIlwraith, a shop assistant, was pronounced dead at the scene while her husband was flown to hospital in Glasgow.

A post mortem revealed she had suffered a fatal chest injury.

Mr McIlwraith, known as Rab, spent several months in hospital.

Mr Farrell said: "His mobility has been substantially impaired and he needs to use a wheelchair most of the time.

"He has had to move house to one which has been adapted. He will require significant assistance with daily living for the rest of his life."

Mr McIlwraith, who worked as a forester, uses crutches to walk and was at court accompanied by family.

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