Cocaine fulled Scottish driver killed motorcyclist as he drove wrong way at speed

William McLean claimed he took five lines of the Class A drug before setting off on a journey that claimed the life of Allan Nicholson in a fatal crash. Picture: Google maps
William McLean claimed he took five lines of the Class A drug before setting off on a journey that claimed the life of Allan Nicholson in a fatal crash. Picture: Google maps
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A cocaine fuelled car driver who killed a motorcyclist in a head-on crash after he forced other motorists to take evasive action as he drove the wrong way at speed was jailed for six years today.

William McLean claimed he took five lines of the Class A drug before setting off on a journey that claimed the life of Allan Nicholson in a fatal crash.

A judge told Mclean at the High Court in Edinburgh that he had "no hesitation" in assessing his culpability at the most serious level.

Lord Brodie said: "You drove when your ability to do so was impaired by a controlled drug, namely cocaine."

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"For a long period of time you persistently drove on the wrong side of the road. You ignored or did not react to the warnings given by other motorists," he said.

Lord Brodie pointed out that McLean (35) appeared to other drivers and from CCTV images to be driving at speed.

The judge said that on McLean's own account he realised he was driving in the wrong direction on a dual carriageway.

He told McLean, formerly of Bute Road, Cathkin, Glasgow, that if he was sentencing after a trial he would have jailed him for nine years.

Lord Brodie disqualified him from driving for 10 years and told him he would need to pass an extended test before he can drive again.

The judge said the victim was a clearly very much loved young man with a highly promising life ahead of him who was described in one of the victim impact statements provided as "an asset to the world".

McLean had earlier admitted causing the death of Mr Nicholson (24) on November 10 last year after driving dangerously on roads between Motherwell Road, in Bellshill, Lanarkshire and the A725 East Kilbride expressway, near to the Raith Interchange.

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During his course of dangerous driving five other motorists had to take evasive action or brake sharply to avoid colliding with his Ford Mondeo.

But the court heard that there was nothing that Mr Nicholson could have done to avoid the collision with McLean's car.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said: "Due to the impact Allan Nicholson was thrown from the motorcycle, landing on the carriageway as the motorbike burst into flames."

McLean's car came to rest on a grass verge and other drivers stopped to assist. McLean told one man: "What have I done."

He ran across a carriageway and tried to climb a wall but was pursued by members of the public and held until police arrived.

Mr Nicholson, a civil engineering student who had set up home with his girlfriend, had set off about 6.30 am on his Suzuki 650cc motorbike to travel to his work at a supermarket in Glasgow. He died of multiple injuries sustained in the collision.

Father-of-two McLean, a warehouse manager, was breathalysed by police and gave a negative sample.

But officers noted that he appeared unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his pupils constricted. Mr Prentice said: "He appeared to be under the influence of something."

A blood sample later revealed the presence of cocaine and McLean claimed he took five lines of the drugs about five hours before the fatal crash.

Defence counsel Tony Graham QC said poor decision making took place on the fateful date with "utterly tragic consequences".

He told the court he was instructed to tender McLean's apologies to those bereaved yet again.

Mr Graham said: "There has never been any attempt on his part to justify his actions or to mitigate his actions."