Husband death ‘killed widow’

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AN elderly widow died just weeks after her husband was killed in a car crash, a court has heard.

Peter Mechan yesterday admitted causing the death of 83-year-old Lewis Leslie by driving carelessly and while over the limit on an East Lothian road, the High Court in Edinburgh heard yesterday.

Mr Leslie’s wife of 40 years, Margaret, was devastated by the news of his death, suffering a stroke from which she never fully recovered. She died later the same month.

The court heard that Mechan had expressed sorrow for the pain and suffering he had caused as a result of the crash, which happened on August 11, 2009.

Mr Leslie, who lived in Gullane, had been returning from a night out in Edinburgh with a friend, George Montgomery, 62, who was driving, when the crash happened on the A198 between Prestonpans and Longniddry at its junction with Seton Mains.

Mechan’s Rover pulled out in front of the Peugeot and Mr Montgomery was unable to avoid it and crashed into it.

Mr Leslie, who was in the passenger seat of his Peugeot 406, was left trapped in the car and had to be cut free.

He died two days after the crash, on August 13, and an autopsy later revealed he had been killed by a tear within the abdomen.

Advocate depute Peter McCormack said: “The accused was driving his gold Rover along the Seton Mains private road and pulled out of the junction, without giving way, into the path of George Montgomery and Lewis Leslie.

“The witness Montgomery was forced to brake and he swerved towards the central reservation, but he was unable to avoid the Rover. This caused both vehicles to spin, with the Peugeot coming to rest partially on the central reservation and partially on lane two of the eastbound carriageway.”

Mr McCormack told the court that paramedics who attended to Mechan noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath.

He added: “He accepted he had been drinking. He said ‘I have been really stupid, there is no point in denying it’.”

The court heard that at hospital a sample of the accused’s blood was taken and contained 131mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The limit is 80mg.

Mr Leslie was active despite his age and was a full-time carer for his wife. Mr McCormack said: “He was an energetic man who enjoyed his garden and greenhouse, jazz and relationships with his wife, sons and grandchildren.

“He had been married to his wife, Margaret, for more than 40 years. She took the news of his death badly and suffered from a stroke, from which she did not recover.”

Mechan, of Sandport Street, Edinburgh, admitted causing the death of Mr Leslie by driving carelessly and that he was unfit through drink or drugs.

Judge Lady Dorrian deferred sentence until October 5 at the High Court in Glasgow. She banned Mechan from driving in the interim.

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