Italian tourist jailed for causing five deaths in Scotland minibus crash

An Italian tourist who was extradited to Scotland has been jailed after he was convicted of causing the deaths of five people, including his oldest son, in a horrific road crash.

Alfredo Ciociola was driving a Fiat minibus when he collided with a Nissan SUV on the wrong side of the road at the Drummuir junction on the A96 near Keith in Morayshire.

His son Lorenzo, four, died in the carnage along with a rear passenger in his vehicle – Maltese Frances Saliba, 63. Her husband Francesco Patane was seriously injured along with Ciociola's wife Concetta, who was also in the back with her children. His younger son Frederico, then aged three, escaped with minor injuries.

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The driver of the other car, Morag Smith, 44, was also severely injured. Her three passengers Edward Reid, known as Ted, 63, Evalyn Collie, 69, and Audrey Appleby, 70, died following the crash as they returned home from a line dancing session in Elgin, in Moray.

Alfredo Ciociola was found guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh

Ciociola, 50, an officer with the Italian Coast guard, who was also injured, had denied causing the deaths by driving dangerously on the A96 on July 26, 2018.

A jury convicted him of the lesser offence of causing the deaths by careless driving and deleted allegations that he had fallen asleep and repeatedly braked from the charge. Ciociola had failed to pay proper attention to the road ahead and drove into the opposing carriageway before the collision.

A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: "You have been convicted of a serious charge, involving the deaths of five people, including your own son, and the serious injury of three people. It is a very serious matter."

Lord Mulholland told jurors it was a "very anxious" case with tragic consequences for a number of people.

He ordered Ciociola should be remanded in custody for the preparation of a background report ahead of sentencing next month.

The court heard Ciociola, from Syracusa, in Sicily, was granted bail by a Scottish court in 2019, but failed to appear for a trial last year. A court in Sicily instructed his extradition to Scotland and despite an appeal against that ruling his return was ordered by a supreme court on the Italian island.

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