Edinburgh drunk driver who killed man facing jail

Police sign on the pavement on Dundas Street, Edinburgh, where Gavin Fulton, 43, was knocked down and killed on Saturday, December 8, 2012. Pic: Jane Barlow

Police sign on the pavement on Dundas Street, Edinburgh, where Gavin Fulton, 43, was knocked down and killed on Saturday, December 8, 2012. Pic: Jane Barlow

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A DRUNK driver is facing jail after mounting a city centre pavement in his jeep and knocking down and killing a father-of-two walking home from a Christmas party.

Keith McCardle, 51, had downed four alcoholic drinks before losing control of his Land Rover Freelander on Dundas Street and fatally ­injuring Gavin Fulton.

Gavin Fulton

Gavin Fulton

Moments after the collision, McCardle told a passer-by: “I killed him. I hit the guy and he’s dead.”

McCardle yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving on December 8 last year at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Speaking after the hearing, Gavin’s grieving father Bill Fulton, 73, paid tribute to his “friendly, caring and helpful” son, and urged people not to drink and drive during this ­festive period.

It emerged today that 
McCardle was the brother of David McCardle, who was killed by a thug wielding a beer barrel outside a Musselburgh pub in August 2011.

McCardle was drunk at the wheel only three weeks after his brother’s killer, 26-year-old Ryan Cameron, who had been on trial for murder, was jailed for four years after admitting culpable homicide, much to his family’s disgust.

The court heard that 
McCardle had been out with his wife, Donna, and sister-in-law, Lorna, at Bennets Bar, Tollcross. Prosecution lawyer Leanne Cross said that they got into McCardle’s car at 1am and entered Dundas Street a short time later.

Ms Cross said: “Around the same time the deceased, Gavin Fulton was walking ­northwards on the pavement situated to the east side of Dundas Street.

He had been out for the evening with friends in the centre of Edinburgh and was making his way home alone.

“As the accused drove down Dundas Street, the witnesses travelling behind him saw the Freelander zig-zag and swerve across the road in an erratic manner and out of control.

“The Freelander crossed from the carriageway it was on into the opposite carriageway and then mounted the pavement on the opposite side of the road between parked cars.

“As it mounted the pavement the Freelander hit the post on the pavement before striking the deceased on the pavement.”

The court heard that a ­witness, Graeme Dudgeon, saw Mr Fulton being thrown forward and believed the victim hit the side of a building.

Paramedics rushed Mr Fulton to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where doctors found that he had brain damage, multiple spine fractures, collapsed lungs and internal bleeding.

The keen squash player, who lived in Claremont Bank, was pronounced dead at 6.40am.

Police took McCardle to St Leonard’s police station where a breathalyser found he had 63 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Mr Fulton’s father Bill said: “All I can say just now is that the consequences of you risking drinking and driving are so dire especially for the victim who gets a death sentence – that’s a punishment our society deems too severe for the most vicious murderer.

“Gavin was a friendly, caring and helpful person whose life was dedicated to Jill, his wife, and Mia and Faye, his ­daughters.

“He was one of the pillars of our small family that can never be replaced. As far as today is concerned we are very relieved that perpetrator has at last admitted his guilt.

“Gavin’s family and friends have been persecuted for a year not knowing what the outcome would be. We can now only hope Lord Doherty delivers an appropriate sentence in line with the severity of the crime.”

The judge deferred sentence until January 10.