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Family of victim killed in 1986 say 'don't let there be a third'...

The family of a cyclist killed by a driver found guilty of killing two riders on nearby stretches of road nearly 30 years apart have called for tough sentencing to stop there being a third tragedy.

The family of George Dalgity, the first victim of Gary McCourt, in 1986, say that "losing him left a huge gap in their lives", and spoke of their shock that McCourt had gone on to kill another cyclist, Audrey Fyfe, in Edinburgh in August 2011.

George died from massive injuries eight days after McCourt knocked him off his bike in Regent Road. McCourt was found guilty of careless driving and sentenced to two years, but the Dalgitys believe he only served eight months.

At his most recent trial, McCourt had admitted “clipping” the rear wheel of Mrs Fyfe’s bike at the junction of Portobello Road and Craigentinny Avenue in August 2011. The victim had been returning home from her daughter’s house.

George's 80-year-old mother, Liz, told the Scotsman: “We were always a family that cycled. And George [senior] taught them both to cycle and drummed road safety into them from an early age,” says Liz. “They were never out at night without lights. George once cycled to Shetland, and Ann and her dad did Land’s End to John O’Groats. They were used to being on the roads.

“But Regent Road is a very wide road, and quiet at nights, and I think that attracted a lot of boy racers years ago. We were told that after George was hit that McCourt didn’t stop, the police had to go looking for him. We were also told he didn’t have a licence or insurance. All we know is that losing him left a huge gap in our lives.”

His sister Ann said: “We don’t want to intrude on the grief of the Fyfe family, and we hope they will not be further hurt, but we do believe that he [McCourt] should receive a very stiff sentence this time around. That’s two people he has killed through careless driving – we don’t want there to be a third and it would seem he didn’t learn his lesson."

George was 22 when he died.

In court this year, McCourt described how he saw Audrey, aged 75, “somersault” through the air, but denied having committed a criminal offence.

Following his latest conviction, deputy procurator fiscal Lesley Smith revealed his criminal record to the court, saying; “He was convicted in 1986 of causing death by reckless driving.”

Sentencing will take place on 3 May, pending reports on McCourt’s character.

George's mother Liz said: “It never leaves you. It becomes part of your life. We don’t want vengeance or to be vindictive, but it seems to us that this man has no remorse for what he’s done – twice now – or he would have pleaded guilty and not put another family through a trial.

“We were angry about his sentence at the time – it seemed so short. Then we were told he was out after eight months. We couldn’t believe it.

“We’re writing to the sheriff before he hands out the sentence because we want to make him – and others – aware of the severity of what he’s done,” says Ann. “And we want to make the roads safer for everyone. A long jail sentence would, we hope, make others think twice about careless driving. It’s not just an accident. We’re still living it.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

11 comments

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stumps [3184 posts] 2 years ago
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Nothing but a very long jail sentence will do in this case. However i dont hold much hope of it making a statement to other numpty drivers out there.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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Once is bad enough, but can if you learn your lesson, do your time and sort out your driving, the lesson learnt, NO ONE should die on the roads, but with the mixture of traffic it does happen.

But to then be involved with a similar incident a number of years later, the length of time between them shouldn't be taken into the case. Just the fact that this driver has KILLED two people on the road should be enough for him to be put away for a LONG time, I'd be looking for the 5 year maximum jail sentence.

Also at LEAST 5 year ban and forced to resit his test WITH advanced driving a requirement aswell.

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paulmcmillan [95 posts] 2 years ago
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When you get behind the wheel you can choose to drive carefully or you can choose to drive dangerously/carelessly. You can make your choice before you set off on your journey.

Any of us who drive know that when we get behind the wheel we could kill by accident through no fault of our own; such is the inherent danger of piloting a tonne of metal, and the reason why we need to choose to drive carefully. Most of us do.

However – if you CHOOSE to drive dangerously/carelessly and as a result of this choice cause another's death by this then I believe you should not be allowed to drive again. Driving is a privilege rather than an entitlement.
Shame the law disagrees.

These tragic cases just reaffirm my view.

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stumps [3184 posts] 2 years ago
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paulmcmillan wrote:

When you get behind the wheel you can choose to drive carefully or you can choose to drive dangerously/carelessly. You can make your choice before you set off on your journey.

Any of us who drive know that when we get behind the wheel we could kill by accident through no fault of our own; such is the inherent danger of piloting a tonne of metal, and the reason why we need to choose to drive carefully. Most of us do.

However – if you CHOOSE to drive dangerously/carelessly and as a result of this choice cause another's death by this then I believe you should not be allowed to drive again. Driving is a privilege rather than an entitlement.
Shame the law disagrees.

These tragic cases just reaffirm my view.

Well said that man, i completely agree.  41

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gazza_d [451 posts] 2 years ago
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Kill once though recklessness should be 5 years minimum jail & then ban. Kill again though recklessness should be same jail term & lifetime ban.

I would prefer them banged up for life on the second attempt, but even less realistic.

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 2 years ago
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It's no good banning these idiots from driving. As the article points out the driver didn't have a licence (ie the right to drive) in the first place and this didn't stop him. Only a lengthy jail sentance will do anything to keep the public safe.

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IanD [22 posts] 2 years ago
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300 hours community service!!!! That's supposed to be a sentence. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-22397918

Why would a driver even make any attempt to avoid killing cyclists if that's all you are going to get. Pathetic.

We really need a big pusg to get strict liability, not just here in Scotland, but in the whole of the UK. Something has to be done to stop this (apart from all becoming cops which is the only time there is real interest in a proper sentence).

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't know what is currently making me more angry, this puddle of piss punishment they have handed down or the achingly crass comments from Sheriff Scott:

Quote:

"I take into account that the accused has been ill and has suffered from depression and that he displays signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Mrs Fyffe wasn't to blame in any way for the accident.

"However, she was not wearing a safety helmet and that in my view contributed to her death."

Nothing to do with being driven at by a couple of tonnes of killing machine, oh no, I'm sure a lump of polystyrene would have been the key to keeping a 75 year old woman who was thrown in to the air after the crash alive and well.

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IanD [22 posts] 2 years ago
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Just re-read the comments above that the family made and how they were writing to the sheriff to make sure they were aware of his history.

I can't begin to imagine how they feel at this response and the idiotic and highly offensive comments about a helmet.

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jstreetley [63 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't get this bit "Sheriff James Scott said he felt able to spare McCourt prison because there were no aggravating factors, such as drink or drug abuse."

Surely one aggravating factor is that this is the second time he has killed. Is that taken into account re; sentencing?

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stumps [3184 posts] 2 years ago
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It beggars belief, 300 hours in exchange for a life.

Oh yes forgot to add 5 year driving ban as well, that makes it alright then  14 14

EDIT: and please tell me what ffs has the wearing of a helmet got to do with it.