Edinburgh fatal drunk driver jailed for 5 years

A DRUNK driver whose dangerous driving caused the death of a pedestrian returning home from a Christmas party has been jailed for five years.

Keith McCardle arriving at Edinburgh's High Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly
Keith McCardle arriving at Edinburgh's High Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Picture: Ciaran Donnelly

Keith McCardle, 51, consumed four alcoholic drinks in the hours before getting behind the wheel of his Land Rover Freelander jeep on 8 December, 2012.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that he lost control of the vehicle in the city’s Dundas Street and his vehicle mounted the pavement there.

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He was more than one-and-a-half times the legal drink driving limit.

His vehicle struck father-of-two Gavin Fulton, 43, who was heading to his home in Edinburgh’s Claremont Bank.

Moments after the collision, McCardle got out of his car and told a passer-by: “I killed him. I hit the guy and he’s dead.”

Yesterday judge Lord Doherty told McCardle that he had no option but to send him to prison. He was also banned from driving for eight years.

Moments earlier, the judge heard that the accused turned to drink after his brother David, 40, was killed in an East Lothian pub in August 2011.

Lord Doherty said: “Your dangerous driving ended Mr Fulton’s life. It has caused inestimable damage to the lives of his family and others. No sentence that I can impose can undo that damage.”

He added: “In my opinion your culpability is substantial because you decided to take the risk of driving when you knew you had consumed the quantities of alcohol which you had.”

McCardle, of Musselburgh, East Lothian, pleaded guilty to causing Mr Fulton’s death by dangerous driving at a hearing last month. Sentence had been deferred for the court to obtain reports about his character.

On that occasion, Leanne Cross, prosecuting, told the court McCardle had four alcoholic drinks on a night out in Edinburgh’s Bennets Bar. At about 1am, he left the pub and started driving to Dundas Street.

She added: “As the accused drove down Dundas Street, the witnesses travelling behind him saw the Freelander zig zag and swerve across the road in an erratic manner and out of control.

“The Freelander crossed from the carriageway it was on into the opposite carriageway and then mounted the pavement on the opposite side of the road between parked cars.

“As it mounted the pavement, the Freelander hit the post on the pavement, before striking the deceased on the pavement.”

The court also heard that onlookers saw the deceased was covered in blood. A cyclist named Gary Rose had stopped and heard McCardle say: “I killed him, I hit the guy and he’s dead.”

The court heard that medics then rushed Mr Fulton to Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary Hospital. When he arrived, Ms Cross told the court, doctors pronounced him dead at 6:40am. McCardle was then arrested.

On Friday, defence advocate Tony Lenehan said his client was genuinely remorseful for getting behind the wheel of his car while drunk. He also said McCardle started drinking heavily when his brother died after being assaulted by Ryan Cameron, 26, in the Clubhouse Bar in Musselburgh two years ago.

Cameron, of East Lothian, was jailed for four years at the High Court in Glasgow in November 2012 for killing Mr McCardle by striking him with a metal beer keg.