Tayside and Central Scotland

Former soldier sentenced for fatal Perthshire crash

High Court in Glasgow
Image caption The court was told that Nelson was "genuinely remorseful"

A former soldier once recognised for his bravery has avoided a prison sentence after killing a woman in a head-on collision.

Ross Nelson's van crashed into Brenda Donaldson's car after going onto the wrong side of the road on the A977 in Perthshire in November 2014.

Nelson, 28, previously admitted causing the 55 year-old civil engineer's death by careless driving.

Judge Lady Scott said she had decided it was "not necessary" to jail him.

She ordered Nelson to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work. He was also banned from driving for four years.

Lady Scott told him it was a "significant failure" by crossing onto the wrong side of the road and causing a "heavy" collision.

She said that after "balancing all factors", she had decided a custodial sentence was not required.

These included Nelson showing "heartfelt sorrow" and being "genuinely remorseful".

Lady Scott said: "You also have a history of lengthy army service involving tours of duty and you have been mentioned in dispatches for your bravery."

Poor visibility

Nelson went on trial in Edinburgh last year accused of causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to the reduced charge near the end of the case.

The trial was told visibility was poor due to fog at the time of the collision.

Nelson's Transit van hit Miss Donaldson's car as she travelled in the opposite direction.

The court heard that he escaped with cuts and bruises and tried to help Miss Donaldson, who was from Crook of Devon in Perthshire, after the accident.

Ronnie Renucci, defending, said Nelson had not realised he had been on the wrong side of road.

The advocate said: "He has found it difficult to come to terms that he was responsible for the death of another."

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