American drove on wrong side of the road for half a kilometre before fatal East Lothian crash

Elizabeth Henderson, who died following the crash. Pic: Police Scotland
Elizabeth Henderson, who died following the crash. Pic: Police Scotland
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An American killed a pensioner in a head on crash after she drove for about half a kilometre on the wrong side of the road.

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Caroline Emmet, 56, had emerged onto a main road from an estate in East Lothian as she headed towards Edinburgh airport with two other women and two children.

But she collided with another car in which Elizabeth Henderson, 83, was a back seat passenger on the A198 North Berwick to Tranent road, about 550 metres from the junction with the Archerfield Estate.

Mrs Henderson suffered multiple pelvis and limb fractures in the crash and internal bleeding and died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on July 21 in 2017 - two days after the collision.

Emmet, an American citizen and French resident who lives in Paris, had denied causing the death of Mrs Henderson, of North Berwick, by driving dangerously, but was convicted of the offence by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday.

She previously offered to plead guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

Following the verdict a judge told jurors that he had not yet formed a view whether a prison sentence would be imposed or not.

Lord Glennie called for a background report to be prepared on the first offender and allowed her to remain at liberty.

Emmet, a mother-of-one, told the court that she had never driven on the left hand side of the road before 2017 when she came to Scotland for a friend's birthday party.

She said she had driven in the USA, continental Europe and South America.

When she arrived in Edinburgh she rented a car and a friend met her at the airport so that the first time she drove on the left she would not be alone.

But she told her counsel Ian Duguid QC that she had not previously been on the stretch of road where the crash occurred.

She said when she set off on July 19 she thought she was on the correct side of the road and slowed at a bend.

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She told the court: "I remember seeing the car coming at me and then there was the collision." She said she did not have time to take evasive action to avoid the oncoming car, being driven by Mrs Henderson's husband William.

She later sent an email to a police officer identifying herself as the driver who "accidentally provoked" the collision.

She said she felt "terrible" about the incident and hoped with all her heart that those injured were recovering.

The former communications consultant said she then learnt that one woman had died leaving her "completely devastated" by the news.

She said: "I thought I was on the correct side of the road because I am used to driving on the right side of the road."

The court heard that Mrs Henderson, who had heart and lung conditions, died from complications of multiple injuries sustained in the crash.

Emmet is due to be sentenced on October 8.