AN elderly driver has vowed to never get behind the wheel again after knocking down and killing a church minister.
Kelman Edwards, 78, struck 76-year-old Rev Thomas Sinclair after becoming confused by security barriers at Waverley station.
Edwards was trying to drop his daughter off at the station when he found his path blocked by the newly-installed barriers.
He reversed out and struck the minister, who was walking from Assembly Hall to meet his wife at the St James Centre.
Edwards, of Priestfield Road, crashed into a bus on Waverley Bridge before accidentally hitting the accelerator rather than the brake of his automatic Vauxhall Astra and ploughing into Rev Sinclair again.
A sheriff yesterday banned him from the road for four years after the court heard that Edwards had told police he would never drive again.
Defence solicitor Jim Stephenson told Edinburgh Sheriff Court at yesterday’s sentencing that his client had lost three stones in weight since the fatal collision.
He said: “No adequate words can express his regret and remorse about his actions.
“It will stay with him for the rest of his life. He is struggling to come to terms with what happened that day.
“He is on medication as a result of the accident, and is unable to sleep at night, waking up, thinking of what happened that day.”
Rev Sinclair, from East Tarbet on the Isle of Lewis, had been in the Capital for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland when he was killed on May 19 last year.
The court heard that an ambulance along with police officers and firefighters were quickly on the scene after witnesses dialled 999 – but there was nothing they could do to save the minister’s life.
Edwards pleaded guilty
previously to causing death by careless driving and sentence had been deferred until yesterday for background reports.
As well as the driving ban, he was also given a Restriction of Liberty Order which means he can’t leave his home between 9pm and 6am for the next six months. He was also told he would need to resit his driving test if he wanted his licence back.
Sheriff Frank Crowe told Edwards: “This was obviously a tragic incident. When I saw you on April 2 [the day he pleaded guilty] I didn’t think you were fit to drive a car and you obviously have recognised that yourself. The real question is your fitness to drive that day.
“I appreciate it was an automatic vehicle and at some time you stopped to let pedestrians past. You took it out of neutral, but instead of putting your foot on the brake, you put it on the accelerator, struck the gentleman and fatally injured him.”
The automatic barriers at Waverley were installed amid controversy in January last year as an anti-terrorism measure.
They were quickly deemed a potential danger to pedestrians by council leaders as they created major tailbacks as taxis attempted to enter the station.
Network Rail has since banned all vehicles, including taxis, from the station.
Sheriff Crowe said he appreciated that the accident had occurred at a “very tricky locus” and accepted that Edwards had not been aware of the situation with the barrier.