Beauly car enthusiast who caused the death of an Inverness driver on a road near Garve in the Wester Ross area of the Highlands has been jailed for three years at the High Court in Aberdeen
A driver hit speeds of more than 84 miles per hour moments before a fatal crash on a Highlands road a court has been told.
Mikey Durdle's Audi A3 hit speeds of more than 84 miles per hour as he went to overtake Kyle Robertson's Seat Leon on a fast, straight section of road – just at the moment Mr Robertson himself forgot to signal as he pulled out to overtake a slower-moving car in front of him.
Durdle's Audi collided with the Seat, causing it to leave the road, cross the verge, cross a railway line, and strike a tree on the far embankment, where it ended on its side.
Passers-by stopped to try and help, including a fire service manager, a nurse, a former ambulance technician and a GP – and Durdle himself helped pull Mr Robertson from the wreckage before stopping traffic while others tried to resuscitate him using CPR.
But Mr Robertson (20) a JCB fitter from Inverness, had serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by a first-responder doctor.
Electronic data downloaded from Durdle's car showed a deceleration from 84 to 76 miles per hours as he tried to brake, followed by a "crash-cue pulse".
The High Court in Aberdeen was told it was likely that Durdle's speed immediately before impact would have been at least 84mph, and could have been higher.
Durdle (23), a self-employed joiner, from Teandalloch, near Beauly pleaded guilty to causing death by driving dangerously by overtaking at excessive speed in the February 25, 2018 incident on the 60mph limit road.
Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC said prior to the accident a group of drivers including Durdle and Mr Robertson, who were not known to each other, had arranged through social media to meet up at Tesco in Dingwall and set off to drive west to a viewpoint in the area of Achnasheen and Kinlochewe.
He said that about 2pm, Durdle, driving a white Audi S3, was attempting to overtake two vehicles, one of them a red Seat Leon driven by Mr Robertson, when the fatal crash happened on the A835 near Loch Garve, Ross-shire.
A woman who was travelling on the same road at about 30mph partly saw what happened in her mirror.
She said she was overtaken by a black car going at about 80mph. As that disappeared from view, Mr Robertson's and Durdle's cars approached from behind.
Both were on the wrong side of the road.
Mr Prentice said: "She saw both vehicles leave the carriageway and disappear from her view."
Shelagh McCall QC, defending, said that Mr Robertson had pulled out "without warning or indication" just as Durdle was starting to overtake.
She said Durdle, still only 21 at the time, was described by those who knew him as a "mature, responsible and disciplined young man of decency and compassion" who had made "an isolated mistake".
Mrs McCall said: "He continues to be tormented by the consequences of his actions."
Imposing the three-year jail term, and banning Durdle from driving for seven and a half years, judge Lord Arthurson said Mr Robertson's actions had contributed, but Durdle had driven "at a greatly excessive speed in an overtaking manoeuvre onto the opposing carriageway and into a collision".
He told Durdle: "Your driving was plainly fraught with danger to other road users.
"You will therefore go to prison today. But you will serve your sentence, regain your liberty, resume your work, and continue with your life. You may in due course marry and have children and grandchildren. Mr Robertson will not do any of those things due to your criminal conduct. His parents and siblings have suffered a grievous loss which no words expressed on your behalf, no matter how sincerely meant, can ever heal.
"No sentence which this court can pass can adequately measure or even begin to address the overwhelming scale of the pain which the family of Mr Robertson continue to endure."
Durdle looked numb as he was and handcuffed led to the cells. Members of Mr Robertson's family wept on the public benches before being led to a private room by officials. Durdle's family members also openly wept.
Durdle's only previous conviction was a three-point penalty for a Construction and Use Regulations offence.