Killer jailed after wrong-way police chase on M8

The sentence was handed down at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin
The sentence was handed down at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin
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A WOMAN who knifed her husband to death has been jailed for six months after being pursued by police driving down a motorway in the wrong direction.

Former primary school teacher Madge Gillespie, 65, was seen crashing into a barrier before driving on to the motorway the wrong way.

In a bid to stop her, police put a rolling road block on the M8 going over the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow and other officers drove towards her car head on.

But she ignored all marked police cars coming towards her then following her, signalling to stop, and continued driving the wrong way along the motorway until she reached the road block.

Gillespie – who spent more than 18 months behind bars for killing her husband Thomas Boyle in 2004 – pled guilty to driving dangerously on 8 November, 2012, at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

She also admitted a drink driving charge. There was 91 milligrams of alcohol in her blood and the legal limit is 80.

Gillespie, from Giffnock, Glasgow, was yesterday jailed for six months by Sheriff John Beckett QC and disqualified from driving for five years.

He told her: “I regret that I do not consider any other sentence but a prison sentence is appropriate to mark the gravity of this crime. It is not a light step to send a lady of your age to prison.”

The sheriff added: “It is only the luck, skill and bravery of police officers that prevented a tragedy occurring.”

The court was told that at 1am on the day of the incident, police saw a green Toyota Avensis crash into a pedestrian barrier before driving on to the M77 motorway.

Procurator fiscal depute Tracey Paterson said Gillespie drove on to the off slip road driving north on the southbound carriageway.

Other officers saw Gillespie driving the wrong way and a “number of vehicles” taking action to avoid colliding with her.

Miss Paterson added: “Police witnesses implemented a rolling road block holding back all the traffic coming over the Kingston Bridge.”

The court heard that two police officers on the M77 drove towards the accused trying to get her attention but were forced to swerve to avoid hitting her.

Miss Paterson said: “This resulted in the accused driving by the marked police car. Police witnesses immediately turned the police vehicle around, driving alongside the accused signalling for her to stop. Both accused and the police car were now travelling in the wrong direction on the motorway.”

More officers then joined in the pursuit to have Gillespie come to a stop.

The fiscal added: “The accused had two marked police vehicles to each side of her motor vehicle but continued on.

“The accused came to a stop prior to the rolling road block.”

Defence lawyer Garvey McArdle said Gillespie had earlier been with an ex-partner who became aggressive towards her.

He said: “She felt she had to get out of there. She took her car, she hadn’t been intending to do that.”