Glasgow students road deaths case dropped

The scene on North Hanover Street in Glasgow following the smash in December 2010. Picture: PA

The scene on North Hanover Street in Glasgow following the smash in December 2010. Picture: PA

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A MAN accused of mowing down two students in a fatal car smash almost three years ago will no longer face prosecution, it has emerged.

William Payne was alleged to have hit Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart while driving his Range Rover near Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries in December 2010.

Payne – a pub DJ – appeared on petition at Glasgow Sheriff Court in November last year charged with causing death by driving while un-insured.

No further court date was set and today prosecutors revealed the charge has been dropped against the 53-year-old.

However, a fatal accident inquiry into the tragedy is instead set to take place early next year.

A Crown Office spokesperson said it had been concluded that there “should be no further criminal proceedings”.

He added: “The Crown reserves the right to re-raise criminal proceedings should there be a material change in circumstances.

“Crown Counsel have also instructed that a fatal accident inquiry should be held into the deaths, which we anticipate will commence in the New Year.

“We will continue to keep the families advised of the status of the case and any future developments.”

Mhairi (18), of Lennoxtown, Dunbartonshire, and Laura (20), of Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, were accounts students at the then Central College of Commerce.

The friends were on a free period when they headed for town to do some Christmas shopping.

Despite the efforts of medics, the girls died of their injuries at the city’s Royal Infirmary.

Dad-of-three Mark Hopwood (36) survived after he was also struck.

It was reported at the time that the two students and Mr Hopwood were on the pavement when Payne lost control of his 4x4 and veered off the road.

It was further claimed following the tragedy that Payne was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy in hospital after the accident. It was said he had no idea that he had the condition.

The Crown Office today/yesterday said the decision to abandon the case against Payne follows a recent ruling at the UK Supreme Court involving a similar road traffic case.

This concerned a Michael Hughes who was accused of causing the death of James Dickinson while driving his campervan uninsured and without a licence.

It followed a fatal accident in Northumberland in 2009.

Dickinson was said to have been driving erratically at the time before colliding with Hughes’ vehicle. Dickinson also had heroin in his blood system.

Hughes still ended up being charged before a judge at Newcastle Crown Court threw out the case.

Prosecutors appealed and the case eventually ended up at the Supreme Court where the challenge was dismissed.

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