Justice for Jonny: Man admits causing death of tragic Edinburgh driver in horror crash

A dangerous driver who killed another motorist after speeding and crossing over into oncoming vehicles is facing a lengthy prison stretch.

By Dave Finlay
Saturday, 27th November 2021, 7:21 pm

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Ednilson De Ceita's BMW X5 collided with a Peugeot 206 being driven by Jonny Smith, 29, who suffered a fatal head injury in the crash before it exploded in flames. His body was by firefighters.

De Ceita, 29, had denied causing the death of groundworker Mr Smith by dangerous driving on May 25 in 2018 on the A902 Maybury Road, in Edinburgh, by driving at excessive speed and driving onto the opposite carriageway into the path of oncoming vehicles and colliding with the Peugeot and another vehicle, but was convicted of the offence.

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Tributes to Jonny Smith are still at the roadside near where he was killed.

A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh also found property firm manager De Ceita, of Western Harbour Way, Edinburgh, guilty of driving the car at the time of the fatal collision when he did not have a valid licence or insurance.

Police are still hunting for the driver of a stolen grey Audi A3 with cloned number plate, SM17 EAK which De Ceita had swerved to avoid. It is believed to been driven by a high-profile Edinburgh criminal figure and was in convoy with a silver hatchback when the tragedy occurred at 3am.

The Audi, which had been stolen from the Liberton area of Edinburgh on April 17, was found abandoned in Lochgelly Road in Cowdenbeath an hour after the fatal crash.

Officers have appealed for help in tracing the driver and any other occupants of the car, as well as those in the silver hatchback it was travelling in high-speed ‘convoy’ with.

Tragic victim: Jonny Smith

De Ceita, his fiancee and their five-year-old daughter were all injured in the smash and required hospital treatment.

Advocate depute Michael Meehan QC told the court: "At the time of the impact the BMW X5 was being driven at 63 mph."

He said there was evidence that the vehicle was driven in an area of hatched marking on the roadway prior to it taking a deviation to the right.

Police Scotland officers guarding the crime scene.

The prosecutor said that when speaking to police De Ceita had given different accounts of going to the left and to the right.

De Ceita stated that he saw an Audi coming towards him and into his lane and he took evasive action before the collision.

But he also said that a mobile phone in his vehicle sounded as if it had received a notification and he turned to look at his passenger for "about half a second" to ask who the message was from before turning back.

He claimed that as he turned back he saw a set of headlights which appeared to be on full beam directly in front of him,

But Mr Meehan contended that there was clear evidence of "driver distraction". "He turned his head away and turned his head back," he told jurors.

The prosecutor said that failures to move to the near side, to observe the speed limit and road markings amounted to dangerous driving.

Trial judge, Lord Beckett, told De Ceita he was not prepared to continue bail and remanded him in custody ahead of sentencing.

Following the conviction, relatives posted a statement on the ‘Justice for Jonny’ Facebook page which has campaigned for a prosecution over his death.

It said: “Just a little message to everybody as a family we have been at court all this week, it has been a long week filled with long tiring days.

“Today, earlier on Ednilson Ceita was found guilty on 2 charges, the first being causing death by dangerous driving, the second being death by dangerous driving with no license or insurance and he has been remanded until next month for sentencing.

“In all honesty we don’t really get any satisfaction from any of this, it doesn’t bring Jonny back but what it does do is give us that little bit of justice for him and also potentially saving someone else without this idiot on the road.

“We would just like to say a massive thank you for everybody’s kind words and support throughout all this, it truly does mean a lot to us and we forever appreciate it.”

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