Drunk driver who killed cyclist in head-on collision gets five years

Motorist three times over drink-drive limit and on wrong side of road

by Mark Appleton   October 7, 2010  

Gavel

A drunk motorist with no valid licence or insurance who ploughed into and killed a cyclist near Edinburgh in June, has been sentenced to five years in jail at the city’s High Court.

Andrzej Stankiewicz, 42, had pleaded guilty to causing the death of Dr Konstantinos Tourlas, 38, from Edinburgh, by driving without due care and attention when unfit through drink.

The court heard how Stankiewicz had been drinking the night before the accident while watching the World Cup and had consumed more beer on the day the accident occurred. He admitted to driving at excessive speed, failing to negotiate a bend and crossing onto the opposite carriageway of the B9080, near Kirkliston Sports Centre, on June 12.

Having lost control of his vehicle, Stankiewicz crashed into senior software consultant Dr Tourlas who was out riding with his girlfriend Kathleen Ralston, 41.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC told the court: "The car crossed over to the westbound carriageway and struck the deceased head on before coming to a halt on the grass verge. As a result of the collision the deceased struck the windscreen causing it to shatter and he landed on the passenger, Vernor Hartos."

Dr Tourlas suffered a severe neck injury which doctors estimated would have killed him almost instantly and which would not have been survivable whatever the extent and speed of medical intervention.

When breathalysed two hours after the collision, Stankiewicz was found to have an alcohol reading of 104 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes. It was further discovered that although the Polish national claimed to have been driving for 25 years, his licence had expired. His insurers subsequently said they would not cover his use of the car.

The court heard how Dr Touras had come to Scotland from Greece to study 20 years ago and had settled in the country. Impact statements from his family in Greece attested to the “devastation” his death had caused to them.

In handing down the five year sentence judge Lord Bannantyne said: "I have to take into account that your actions caused the death of Mr Tourlas and what that must firstly mean to his partner who of course witnessed this incident which must have been wholly horrific for her."

"Not only must this have been devastating for her I have been given victim impact statements from his family in Greece. It is quite apparent from these that the effect on them could properly be described as utterly devastating," he said.

In addition to the custodial sentence the judge also banned Stankiewicz from driving for 10 years.
 

5 user comments

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This guy should never be allowed to drive again. Judges should have the ability to ban people from driving for life. The guy didn't even have a driving licence to start with!

Thankfully, the way our motor insurance system operates, he will find it impossible to get insurance in the future.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
7th October 2010 - 12:51

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Quote: "Thankfully, the way our motor insurance system operates, he will find it impossible to get insurance in the future."

So it's a pity that probably won't stop him. Just an evening spent watching some variant of Police Camera Action demonstrates how much pretty blatant law-breaking goes on - why should he be any different? Bring on the war on the motorist, I say!

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posted by timlennon [227 posts]
7th October 2010 - 13:04

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Tim, if he drives in the future without a licence or insurance, he would go back to prison.

do you disagree that he won't be able to get insurance then?

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
7th October 2010 - 14:00

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Heh heh, point taken! But they have to catch him first, don't they? There seems a huge reliance on the new number-plate reading cameras, and pretty much everyone else only gets checked when they draw attention to themselves.

I'm sure most of the officers doing the work are fairly industrious types, but it doesn't seem that policing the roads against this kind of thing is a huge priority, nor has really been for a while.

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posted by timlennon [227 posts]
7th October 2010 - 14:07

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I'm sure he'll drive again and get away with it. That's the problem with driving - and killing! - charges in the UK. not bloody harsh enough!

When this government and the judical system in general wakes up and realises the car is a MURDER WEAPON will we see harsher sentences. Pathetic! And this is happening time and time again with the humble cyclist suffering.

posted by Karbon Kev [670 posts]
7th October 2010 - 16:07

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