Driving ban for forklift operator who hit tourist

Thomas McNab outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Thomas McNab outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A forklift driver who knocked down a cruise ship passenger has been given a two-year driving ban.

Thomas McNab narrowly avoided crushing holidaymaker Henry Powell, who had just disembarked at Leith during an ocean tour last summer.

The 56-year-old – who had been drinking the night before – had been moving a container with a forklift when the 
incident happened on August 18.

Mr Powell had just alighted from the ship and was making his way to the terminal at Port of Leith’s Cruise Liner Pier when he was hit.

McNab’s line of sight had been obscured by the large container and horrified passengers screamed at him to stop when Mr Powell ended up underneath.

McNab managed to hit the brakes before Mr Powell was crushed by the wheels, and staff from the cruise ship ran to help.

Mr Powell needed 13 stitches to a cut above his left eyebrow and suffered cuts to his elbow.

The incident happened at around 9am and McNab was not arrested until nearly midday, when a breath sample revealed 45 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, The legal limit at the time was 35mcg.

McNab, of Cadiz Street, Leith, admitted driving without due care and attention and being unfit to drive through drink last month.

He returned to court yesterday to face sentence after a report was prepared by the social work department.

McNab, who had worked full-time as a truck driver at the docks for 25 years, lost his job after the incident.

Defence agent Kim Schofield told the court yesterday: “He’s incredibly remorseful. He accepts full responsibility and got incredibly emotional during the preparation of the report.

“He is motivated to address his alcohol issues. He has sought assistance from his GP.”

Sheriff Nigel Ross said he was glad to hear McNab was keen to get help, adding: “Reading the report, I got the impression of a man who has completely given up on life.”

He handed him a two-year driving ban and ordered him to complete an 18-month community payback order which requires him to have alcohol counselling.

Sheriff Ross said: “If you don’t turn up and go on a bender, or simply forget about it, then you will be in breach.”