OAP driver accused of killing Edinburgh tot Xander Irvine dies before case reaches court

No one will stand trial over the death of an Edinburgh toddler after the pensioner accused of killing him by dangerous driving passed away.

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Tragic Xander Irvine, three, died of injuries he sustained after a car mounted the pavement and mowed down him and mum Victoria on June 30 last year.

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Ms Irvine, 37, and Xander were walking in Morningside Road when a red Kia Picanto mounted the pavement and hit them before crashing into St Columba’s Hospice shop.

Mourners gathered to say goodbye to Xander Irvine
Mourners gathered to say goodbye to Xander Irvine

They were rushed to hospital where Xander died. Ms Irvine, a teacher at Oxgangs Primary, was treated for her injuries and later released.

Thousands of people lined the streets weeks later to remember Xander and as his funeral procession passed hundreds of floral tributes at the scene of the accident.

A local florist handed out 400 red roses which were placed on the bonnet of the hearse by those who had gathered to pay their respects

In a statement issued at the time, his heartbroken family said: "Xander was a very happy, bubbly, intelligent little boy who was very dearly loved by his parents, Victoria and Paul.

"He really enjoyed life and he enriched the lives of everyone he met.

"Victoria and Paul are devastated and feel as if their hearts have been ripped out."

The Kia Picanto driver, 91-year-old Edith Duncan, suffered no injuries and was arrested weeks later.

She appeared in private on petition at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last October charged with causing death by dangerous driving and while uninsured.

Duncan made no plea and she was released on bail with a trial expected to take place next month.

But the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has confirmed the case is now closed after the pensioner died on May 16.

A COPFS spokesperson said: “As the accused is now deceased, criminal proceedings are at an end.”

The case prompted fresh calls for increased eyesight tests for ageing drivers.

Neil Greig of safety charity IAM Roadsmart said: “This is a tragic case that underlines the urgent need to modernise the UK’s licensing system for the growing numbers of mature drivers. As our population ages more and more people are driving into their later years and, whilst in general those over 70 are safer than their much younger counterparts, crash risk does start to rise in the over 85’s.

"Having said that all drivers are not the same and simply reaching an age milestone does not automatically make anyone a greater danger on the road. It is for this reason that IAM RoadSmart do not support compulsory retesting at an arbitrary age limit, but we do believe that the system could be quickly tightened up by requiring an eye test when licences are renewed.

" Retesting often makes people stop driving too soon which leads to isolation, mental and physical health problems and greater cost in bringing services to the housebound. The issue of how we ensure that older drivers can stay independently safe and mobile for as long as long as possible has been ignored for too long, and cases such as this must act a catalyst for an informed debate.”

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