Driver who killed Edinburgh cyclist faces appeal

Gary McCourt leaving Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL

Gary McCourt leaving Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL

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PROSECUTORS announced yesterday that they will appeal a sentence handed down to a driver who killed two cyclists, claiming it was “unduly lenient”.

Gary McCourt was found guilty in April of causing the death by careless driving of 75-year-old cyclist Audrey Fyfe, in August 2011.

Mrs Fyfe, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, died two days after the collision,

between Portobello Road and Craigentinny Avenue on 11 August, 2011.

McCourt was given a five-year driving ban, along with 300 hours’ community service, when he was sentenced at the beginning of May. But it was revealed after that trial that McCourt had a previous conviction for causing the death of cyclist George

Dalgity, 22, by reckless driving.

McCourt was jailed for two years after Mr Dalgity was killed as he cycled along the city’s Regent Road, on 18 October, 1985.

The two incidents, in Edinburgh, occurred less than a mile apart.

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the “scandalous” sentence is reviewed.

The Crown Office said yesterday that it would be appealing the sentence.

A statement said: “In cases of a serious nature, Crown counsel will often consider whether the sentence imposed is within the range available to the sheriff

in the exercise of his or her

discretion.

“Following careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case against Gary McCourt by Crown counsel, we can today confirm that the Crown will be lodging an appeal against the sentence on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.

“The family of Mrs Fyfe have been kept advised of this decision and we will continue to update them as to any significant developments in the appeal process. Given that appeal proceedings are now live, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

Mr Dalgity’s family described the sentence as “disgusting” at the time. His sister Ann said: “His [McCourt’s] sentence back then was too lenient, and it has happened all over again.

“It’s just disgusting. Does this sheriff just not like cyclists and have no regard for their safety? To think that he [McCourt] could be back on the roads in five years is just appalling.”

Reacting to the sentence, Mrs Fyfe’s widower, Ian, said: “I

feel with him having killed two cyclists already, he shouldn’t be allowed to drive for life and

I don’t think that is unreasonable.

“How many times is he going to have to kill someone before he is banned for life?”

Peter Hayman, of the Cyclists Touring Club, who created the online petition, said: “This 300 hours of community service

and only a five-year ban as a sentence is scandalous and goes against the efforts to encourage cycling.”