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Hit and run driver who killed cyclist spent a week trying to cover up crash

Victim Scott Walker’s family say they were “let down” by justice system as Ian McFarlane handed community order

A driver who killed a cyclist spent a week trying to cover up the fatal crash – but has been spared jail by a judge.

Scott Walker, aged 43, died from “catastrophic” head injuries sustained when Ian McFarlane knocked him off his bike on the A917 Elie to St Monans Road in Fife on 8 July 2019, reports Courier.co.uk.

McFarlane, aged 76 and from Dundee, pleaded guilty last month at Dundee Sheriff Court to failure to stop and report the collision and to driving while uninsured, the only offences with which he was charged in connection with the fatal crash.

The court heard that the wing mirror of the car he was driving was found at the scene by police, who identified it as belonging to a Vauxhall Astra made between 2005 and 2009.

Extensive enquiries led officers to McFarlane’s estranged wife, in whose name the vehicle was registered. He had visited her immediately after the collision, but in the following days denied involvement in the crash.

Police discovered that he had visited two garages in the week after the incident to try and have the car’s damaged bodywork repaired and the wing mirror replaced.

When he was eventually tracked down by police, he claimed that he had intended to hand himself in the following day.

Sentencing McFarlane to 225 hours of unpaid work and banning him from driving for nine months, Sheriff Gregor Murray told him: "Extensive publicity was given to police efforts to trace you and your vehicle.

“You failed to contact the police. You implemented a scheme to prevent your identity being discovered. Only diligent police work enabled your identity to be revealed.

“The public requires to be protected from those who seek to interfere with the administration of justice. A custodial sentence would be wholly justified.

“The maximum period of imprisonment I can impose for the failure to stop is six months. That would not adequately reflect the gravity of the offence.

“I must take into account other factors. There is no suggestion the collision was as a result of the driving on your part.”

McFarlane expressed no remorse for his actions and failed to apologise to the victim's family.

After he was sentenced Mr Walker’s sister, Sharon Iddir, said: "We were let down in there. It's not what we were expecting and it's not what should have happened.

"He knew what he was doing. He has showed no remorse whatsoever," she added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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58 comments

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Seagull2 | 2 years ago
2 likes

"Sentencing McFarlane to 225 hours of unpaid work and banning him from driving for nine months"       !!!!       Nine months !!!!      How can anyone have confidence in a justice system  that   punishes  a crime like that so unbelievably leniently ?

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Muddy Ford | 2 years ago
1 like

So if someone wanted to get away with murder they could beat their victim to death with a baseball bat, and dump them by the side of the road next to a broken bicycle. The absence of the bicycle would mean police are investigating a murder, the presence of the bicycle mean they are investigating an accident.

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Andy533 | 3 years ago
3 likes

So the police catch a man who killed someone through good detective work.

A man who was so morally corrupt, drunk or whatever he didn't stop to help.

A man who tried to hide his crime whilst driving illegally and he doesn't go to jail.

The judge or the system isn't fit. There has to be consequences for killing people.

So the justice system focussing on the rights of the criminal.

So a justice system run for criminals, paid for by you and me.

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iandusud | 3 years ago
3 likes

Is there any appeal system that the family can pursue? This is such a gross injustice. 

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Keesvant | 3 years ago
2 likes

If someone where to kill one of my family in this way and get a way with it like this i would take the matter in my own hands...

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Jenova20 replied to Keesvant | 2 years ago
0 likes

Keesvant wrote:

If someone where to kill one of my family in this way and get a way with it like this i would take the matter in my own hands...

 

Make sure you kill him with a car so you get a reduced sentence. Bonus leniency if he's on a bike when you kill him.

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Titanus | 3 years ago
0 likes

The guy was very lucky not to be sent down. He should be thankful for having a great judge. Its mostly because the old fart is about the same age as Ben Nevis that he didn't go to prison. You can imagine what the other prisoners would do to an old codger so the judge had to make a judgment call here. Sending him to jail would effectively be sentencing him to death, which isn't a thing anymore.

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Captain Badger replied to Titanus | 2 years ago
6 likes

Titanus wrote:

The guy was very lucky not to be sent down. He should be thankful for having a great judge. Its mostly because the old fart is about the same age as Ben Nevis that he didn't go to prison. You can imagine what the other prisoners would do to an old codger so the judge had to make a judgment call here. Sending him to jail would effectively be sentencing him to death, which isn't a thing anymore.

No, it wouldn't, that would suggest that prisons are not under the control of the authorities, and that the authorities openly accepted that, neither is actually the case. It's not the judge's role to protect offender from legal consequence, it's to sentence each conviction according to guidelines.

This issue is not only the crash, but the perversion of the course of justice. This was a deliberate premeditated and massively serious offence that should definitely have invited a bit of porridge.

As for the "great" judge. This guy's got previous "greatness" to his name. Check out the link from TwinklyDave below.

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joe9090 | 3 years ago
3 likes

He should have been sentenced to a LIFETIME ban and in his case, if i were the victim's family, I would hope that would not be that long...

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Tired of the tr... | 3 years ago
3 likes

I find the reporting very frustrating. There's no detail about the collision itself, so it's hard to put the "no suggestion the collision was a result of your driving" in any context.

Does this mean that the police was completely unable to establish how the collision happened, or does it mean that the police actually reconstructed it but found that the driver did not cause it?

Why do journalists rarely seem to feel the need to report any actual facts and write up only lots of disconnected soundbite quotes from various people? Surely the reporter of the Courier must have been in court and actually heard the evidence, so why not report that? (I'm not criticising road.cc of course as they can only base the article on the original news article).

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Dave Dave replied to Tired of the trolls here and gone cycling instead | 3 years ago
1 like

The magistrate was commenting on what was put before the court, presumably. 

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Tired of the tr... replied to Dave Dave | 3 years ago
1 like

Dave Dave wrote:

The magistrate was commenting on what was put before the court, presumably. 

Sure, but I would like to know what was put before the court. The court proceedings are public, are they not? So why can't the reporter report what the actual evidence was?

This is about more than just about finding somebody guilty or not. In many other settings, eg. industrial incidents, any incident that leads to an injury or death is investigated with a view of finding out what can be learned and what, if any, procedures or environments have to be changed, and detailed reports are published. But for roads we just accept some waffly "no suggestion that ...". Nothing will ever change if we don't publish incident reports and learn from them.

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brooksby | 3 years ago
7 likes

The youth of today, eh?  Oh: hang on... surprise

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philbarker | 3 years ago
7 likes

“I must take into account other factors. There is no suggestion the collision was as a result of the driving on your part.”

In other words, you didn't commit another offence so you get let off this one.

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jh2727 replied to philbarker | 3 years ago
9 likes

philbarker wrote:

“I must take into account other factors. There is no suggestion the collision was as a result of the driving on your part.”

In other words, you didn't commit a completely unrelated offence so you get let off this one.

Let me fix that...

In other words, there is no evidence that you didn't commit several other offences - we can't prove that you were over the limit because you didn't stick around to be brethalysed, we can't prove that you didn't intentionally kill him so we'll take your word for it, there were no witness or recordings to show that your driving was careless or dangerous - so we'll let you off the few things that the police and CPS have (despite your best effforts) managed to prove.

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Dave Dave replied to jh2727 | 3 years ago
5 likes

No, in other words it's perfectly legal to mow down cyclists as long as you stop, wait for emergency services, and say you didn't do it on purpose.

Well, not necessarily legal, but not a serious offence.

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EddyBerckx | 3 years ago
12 likes

FFS, etc and so on. See you next week for more of the same!

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wtjs | 3 years ago
3 likes

This, and other cases we have seen on here, shows what we and our families can expect if we, or anyone we know' are killed out there on the front line. The 'authorities' will fall over themselves in the attempt to find insufficient evidence, that it was a tragic accident and nobody was to blame. It's not an attractive prospect, because the absence of significant penalties for killing cyclists leads all those drivers of killing machines to carry on with business as usual. Forget all this 'PL' stuff, what we have is 'presumed innocence'. Put that way, it sounds reasonable and in keeping with the justice system. The problem we have is that we know the police predilection for ignoring evidence that they think will cause them work!

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
7 likes

If nicmason turns up here I will be agreeing with him that people are having a go at the police for no reason.

If you read the story, the police did a lot of work - they got from a single wing mirror to find the actual driver and as AlsoSomniloquism says “There is no proof the collision was as a result of the driving on your part.”.

It's hardly a populated area so where were they going to magic up witnesses from ?

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
0 likes

If you read the story

If you read my comment...

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
3 likes

You put

"The 'authorities' will fall over themselves in the attempt to find insufficient evidence, that it was a tragic accident and nobody was to blame. "

But that isn't what the Police did here.

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
0 likes

Yes, that's why it says 'the authorities', not 'the police'.

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
2 likes

You also put

"The problem we have is that we know the police predilection for ignoring evidence that they think will cause them work!"

Who do you consider to be the 'the authorities' then ?

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
0 likes

This is getting a bit wearing. I know the police ignored this black Range Rover F2 YNY crashing the lights at 60 1.4 seconds after they changed to red, and lots more like it- it's a serious offence. That, in Lancashire at least, is a predilection.

The 'authorities' are the entire police/CPS/Courts system.

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jh2727 replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
3 likes

I have a lot of respect for 'presumed innocence' - but if he had stopped and reported the collision, he would have been required to give a breath or blood sample - if he had refused, he would have been penalised the same as if he tested unfit due to drugs/alcohol. So if he avoids an alcohol/drugs test by failing to stop, it surely only makes sense to presume he was over the limit - he has discarded the opportunity to prove that he wasn't.

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Dave Dave replied to jh2727 | 3 years ago
3 likes

No, because it's a reasonable assumption - to the extent people are greatly surprised to find it isn't true - that mowing down cyclists gets you in serious trouble.

People who aren't drunk flee when they shouldn't often enough.

Look at all the fuss about Anne Sacoolas. People think she should be extradited for something that would have been taken slightly more seriously than a speeding ticket if she hadn't fled. She, and they, all think that mowing down cyclists must be a big problem. They're all wrong.

(TBC, I've been calling for a change in the law for, crikey, since last century. I'm not suggesting the current law is a good thing, I'm trying to get everyone to understand how useless it is so we can get it changed.)

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Captain Badger replied to jh2727 | 3 years ago
1 like

jh2727 wrote:

I have a lot of respect for 'presumed innocence' - but if he had stopped and reported the collision, he would have been required to give a breath or blood sample - if he had refused, he would have been penalised the same as if he tested unfit due to drugs/alcohol. So if he avoids an alcohol/drugs test by failing to stop, it surely only makes sense to presume he was over the limit - he has discarded the opportunity to prove that he wasn't.

No, failing to give a breath test when asked I think is an offence in its own right, there is no presumption of other offences.

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Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
19 likes

Not just the family of Mr Walker who have been let down badly, but also the Police Officer(s) who conducted the investigation and acquired sufficient evidences to bring the case to court.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
13 likes

I agree. They did alot more then some forces have in the past for investigations as serious as this and to have it all end up with a seeming acceptance of "I was coming to see you tomorrow after trying to hide all the evidence first" must have been gutting for them.

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EddyBerckx replied to Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
9 likes

Yeah credit where it's due here. The police did their job pretty well. They must be just as gutted at the pathetic sentence as the family are

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