Arthur MacVean, 63, lost control as his Vauxhall Vectra reached speeds of twice the 30mph limit in a built-up area in Scotstoun, Glasgow, and smashed into a wall and struck David Young, 26.
He told a jury he had tried to brake but the car did not slow down and, in fact, gained speed, as if “it had a mind of its own.”
The defence counsel, Donald Findlay, QC, argued at the High Court in Edinburgh that the circumstances of the case were so exceptional that MacVean, of Northland Drive, Glasgow, could be spared a prison term.
The judge, Lord Brailsford, disagreed. He said: “I accept that quite exhaustive evidence was heard at the trial and no satisfactory explanation for this offence has been forthcoming. But by finding you guilty, the jury accepted you were responsible for the driving of the vehicle. The critical feature of that driving was that the car was travelling at a speed which was scientifically measured in excess of 60mph in a 30mph limit.”
Mr Young, an electrician, had been walking in Danes Drive, on his way to meet his mother at Scotstoun Leisure Centre, on 1 June, 2010, when the car hit him. He sustained multiple injuries and died at the scene.
MacVean had taken a break from decorating at his home to go to local shops to buy a pot of honey and biscuits.
In evidence, he said he applied the footbrake on a number of occasions.
“It wasn’t slowing it down. The car did not respond to what I wanted to do with it. It seemed to be reacting as if it had a mind of its own. That’s the impression I had,” he said.
Mechanics who examined the car after the accident could find nothing wrong with it. Also, claims that MacVean might have been in the early stages of frontal lobe dementia were refuted, and the jury heard that he had been able to drive perfectly well both before and after the accident.
A witness said he had expected to see a police car following MacVean’s vehicle because it was going so fast he thought it must have been a chase. Another motorist said it had been “crazy” to drive at motorway speed in that area.
The jury found MacVean guilty of causing Mr Young’s death by dangerous driving.