South Tyneside lorry driver spared jail after admitting to killing former councillor in horror crash

A lorry driver who admitted killing a former councillor in a horror crash has been spared jail.
Keith Murray has been spared jail following the collision on the A9 in Scotland.Keith Murray has been spared jail following the collision on the A9 in Scotland.
Keith Murray has been spared jail following the collision on the A9 in Scotland.

Keith Murray was instead ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work following the death of Barbara Vaughan in December 2017.

Murray ploughed into the 77-year-old's car after failing to react to a traffic queue on the A9 near Blair Atholl, Perthshire.

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Barbara – once a well known Conservative councillor in the area – never recovered from her injuries.

Murray was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow after he pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

A judge heard how the 49-year-old has vowed never to get behind the wheel again.

Barbara was travelling in her Renault Megane on the afternoon of the crash, while Murray was on the A9 working as a long distance HGV driver.

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Prosecutor Angela Gray told how roadworks caused a “long line” of traffic.

As a result, motorists – including Barbara – had to stop.

But, one driver noticed Murray approaching in his Mercedes lorry and appearing not to slow down.

Miss Gray said: “For some unknown reason, he failed to react to the stationary traffic.”

He crashed into the widow's car causing it to hurtle down an embankment.

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Barbara became trapped in her upturned vehicle. Two doctors in the area raced out to her aid.

The pensioner was eventually freed and airlifted to hospital in Dundee.

She had several broken ribs and cuts to her leg.

Barbara's condition tragically worsened after suffering a collapsed lung and she died on December 4.

His lawyer Barry Smith told the court: “He has no wish to return to driving as a consequence.

“He said he did not feel tired or unwell that day.

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“However, he failed to observe the queueing traffic or react until it was sadly too late.

“He cannot explain that lapse, but he clearly struggles with the inability to explain his actions.”

The advocate added Murray, listed at a previous court hearing as being of Sandiacres, Jarrow, had also shown “sincere regret”.

Lord Arthurson imposed a community payback order which involves the unpaid work and two years supervision.

Murray was also banned from the road for six years.