Highlands & Islands

Caithness fatal crash driver's 'disdain for others'

Marc McDonald Image copyright Iain McLellan/Spindrift Photo Agency
Image caption A judge noted that Marc McDonald has a record of driving offences

A man who admitted causing a friend's death by dangerous driving has been jailed for six years and four months.

Marc McDonald lost control on the A99 at Reiss, near Wick, on 12 February 2015. His average speed on part of his journey that day was 113mph.

Gavin Farquhar, 30, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died after being thrown through the rear window in the crash.

A judge said McDonald's driving behaviour suggested he had "a complete disdain" for the safety of others.

Sentencing the 31-year-old at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Turnbull said: "You pled guilty to an offence of a grossly reckless nature.

"You were driving a powerful car which had been modified so as to enhance its performance even further."

Commenting on McDonald's actions on the day of the crash, Lord Turnbull said: "Anyone who was observing this driving would have been bound to ask what you thought gave you the right to conduct yourself with such disregard for the lives and safety of others."

Grandmother's funeral

The judge noted McDonald's record of offences for careless driving, speeding and dangerous driving and that he had 11 penalty points on his licence at the time of the latest crime.

Lord Turnbull said it disclosed that he considered that speed limits and other rules of safe driving "were for others" and did not apply to him.

He said the description of the events he was given made it plain "but for pure chance you could have taken a number of lives that day".

The judge said: "I recognise only too well no sentence I can impose is capable of undoing the harm caused by the way you chose to drive that day."

McDonald admitted to causing Mr Farquhar's death at the High Court in Glasgow last month.

The men, who grew up in Reiss, had earlier on the day of the crash attended the funeral of McDonald's grandmother.

The car involved in the fatal crash, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7, was capable of going from 0-60mph in just over five seconds, the court heard.

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