A mother who killed a pensioner after swerving on the wrong side of the road was spared jail
Anna-Marie Strachan was convicted of causing the death of 73-year-old James Thomson by dangerous driving. But the 29-year-old avoided a custodial sentence at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday and was instead ordered to perform 300 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Judge Lady Stacey’s ruling came after defence counsel Gavin Anderson successfully argued that jailing mother-of-two Strachan would breach Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
He claimed: “A prison sentence would interfere with the private and family life not only of Mrs Strachan, but also her husband Derek and their two children.”
The defence counsel said that the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, who has been diagnosed with dyslexia, needed her mother there to help with her homework. Strachan’s husband also has dyslexia.
The judge ruled that a jail sentence would breach Anna-Marie Strachan's human rights
He also said that if Strachan was jailed her husband, a bus driver, might lose his job and they could then lose their family home.
My reasons are you are the mother of two young children aged five and 10 and you are their main carer
Judge Lady Stacey
Lady Stacey said: “This is a very difficult case for me and I have thought long and hard about it.”
She told Strachan, who sat weeping in the dock: “Nothing I can do today can lessen the grief of the family of Mr Thomson. Nothing I say is trying to evaluate Mr Thomson’s life.
“I have decided that it is not necessary to imprison you. I am well aware there have been cases of mothers with children being sent to prison.”
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She was convicted of causing the death of 73-year-old James Thomson by dangerous driving
The judge added: “My reasons are you are the mother of two young children aged five and 10 and you are their main carer.
“I accept your husband cannot work the hours he works now and look after two young children and I am told there are no other family members who can look after the children.”
Lady Stacey also said Strachan, who was injured in the crash, is not in good health and would require a cell to be specially adapted to her needs.
First offender Strachan, from -Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, apologised to the Thomson family through her defence counsel.
The crash happened on the A90 near Rathan, Aberdeenshire, on July 31 2014
Mr Anderson said: “She offers them her heartfelt apology. She thinks about the collision every day and expects to think about it every day going forward.”
Mr Thomson’s wife Frances, 71, Strachan and two young children in her car were all injured when the mother’s Peugeot 308 veered into the path of the pensioners’ car.
It happened on the A90 near Rathen, Aberdeenshire, on July 31, 2014.
Strachan went on trial accused of causing the collision after consuming prescription drugs and while holding a phone, but both allegations were deleted from the charge.
Strachan was also banned from driving for eight years.