A man has admitted causing the death of his cousin’s daughter by dangerous driving after hitting the schoolgirl while her father was a passenger in the car.
Martin McGuire, 39, was driving at 51mph in a 30mph zone when he hit 12-year-old Abbie McLaren as she crossed the road after getting off a bus in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, on February 12.
She was flung on to a parked car, suffering multiple injuries, and was pronounced dead in hospital that evening.
McGuire admitted causing Abbie’s death by dangerous driving, and also driving without a licence or insurance, when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.
Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, told the court father-of-seven McGuire was driving his daughter’s car and picked up Abbie’s father Adam McLaren at around 4pm.
At 4.08pm, Abbie got off a bus on The Loaning with a friend, having arranged to meet her and go to a shop.
Mr Prentice said McGuire and Mr McLaren were not aware of the arrangement and it was “purely coincidence that all parties were passing through” the same area at the same time.
After getting off the bus, Abbie and her friend Chelsea Hamilton waited for traffic to clear at the rear of the vehicle and then began to cross.
Mr Prentice said: “Chelsea Hamilton stopped halfway across, however Abbie McLaren continued to run across and was struck by the accused’s vehicle travelling southbound.
“The speed at which the car was travelling at caused Abbie McLaren to be projected forward on to a nearby parked car, which caused extensive damage to the car and fatal injuries to Abbie McLaren.”
Mr McLaren was the front-seat passenger in the car. Following the crash, McGuire stopped the vehicle and remained at the scene.
The court heard Abbie suffered multiple skull fractures with bleeding into and around her brain, as well as fractures to other bones including her lower cervical spine.
Mr Prentice said McGuire was travelling “well in excess” of the speed limit and there was nothing obscuring his view in the car, and no reason for him not to see Abbie just before the collision.
He said: “The dangerousness of the driving stems from the vehicle travelling at an excessive speed for the prevailing circumstances which included people alighting from a bus.
“The speed travelled did not allow sufficient reaction time to an obvious hazard such as a person crossing a road.”
Several members of Abbie’s family were in the court on Friday.
Mr Prentice said Abbie was a “very popular girl” who “enjoyed life to the full and had a bright future ahead of her”.
She lived with her mother, stepfather and siblings.
She was a pupil at Dalziel High School in Motherwell, and following her death rector Robert Birch said: “This is a terrible tragedy and I know I’m speaking on behalf of all pupils, staff and friends at Dalziel when I say that Abbie’s death has been a devastating loss to the entire school community.
“She was a very popular, happy and talented girl who will be deeply missed by everyone at the school, and her family is very much in all our thoughts.
“She had many friends here and came to school with a bright smile on her face, bringing joy to many.”
McGuire will be sentenced on June 28 at the High Court in Edinburgh.