Crash death driver was habitual speeder

Updated: 
police warning tape
Shutterstock / Timothy Large

A man who caused the death of two pedestrians while speeding through a residential area had exceeded the speed limit at least 80 times in the weeks leading up to the fatal collision.

Abby Hucknall, 18, and mother-of-three Jane Macdonald, 37, were both killed when they were struck by a Land Rover Discovery driven by James Clunie, at a pedestrian crossing in Fife, Scotland, in 2012.

36-year-old Clunie admitted causing the death of the pair by careless driving at Edinburgh High Court. Collision investigators concluded that he had been travelling at 52mph in the 40mph zone at the point where he had begun emergency braking.

The court heard that the Land Rover, which was provided to Clunie by his insurance company, was fitted with a telematics 'black box' device, which recorded the vehicle's location and speed.

Data from the device showed that he had breached posted speed limits numerous times leading up to the accident, and had reached speeds of up to 115mph.

Clunie had also been logged driving through residential areas at more than three times the speed limit.

He had previously been banned from the road on three separate occasions and currently holds endorsements on his licence for both speeding and using a mobile phone while driving.

Advocate depute John Scullion QC said: "It is accepted by the accused that the extra speed patently reduced his ability to react and increased the speed at which the impact occurred," the BBC reports.

"It is accepted by the Crown that albeit it was dark, the Land Rover was appropriately lit; that the deceased crossed against a 'red man' and that the deceased would have been in the roadway for between 0.5 and 1.5 seconds, depending upon whether they were walking or running."

Rejecting a fresh application for bail ahead of sentencing, Judge Lord Turnbull described Clunie's behaviour as "utterly shocking conduct". He was warned to expect a custodial sentence when the case resumes on December 1.