Man feted over fire rescue jailed for tragic road death

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A MAN who received a bravery award for a heroic fire rescue has been jailed after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

Russell William Dickson killed Graham Rowe in a “tragic” car smash on August 15 this year, a court heard.

He was jailed for a year for speeding out of a junction and into the path of Mr Rowe’s motorcycle. Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday heard how other drivers found Dickson “hysterical” after the crash, and that he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.

After sentencing, the 29-year-old – who has no previous convictions and a clean driving licence – looked towards his family in the public gallery but showed no emotion.

Only last month, Dickson was feted at Lothian and Borders police headquarters for helping to rescue an elderly neighbour whose house was on fire in Port Seton, East Lothian.

The family of Mr Rowe, a 38-year-old father of two from Newtongrange, Midlothian, were said to have been left “devastated” by his death.

Dickson’s defence agent Colm Dempsey said: “He offers his sincere apologies and condolences to the family of Mr Rowe.”

Mr Dickson said his view of the main road in East Lothian where Mr Rowe was driving in August this year was obscured by hedges on the unclassified road.

Mr Dempsey added that alcohol tests on his client had proved negative and that the roofer had “general good character” and had a clean licence.

“It should also be taken into account that he received a meritorious award . . . following his role in tackling a fire in a neighbour’s home,” he said.

“He has shown genuine remorse for Mr Rowe and his family,” he added.

But in sentencing Dickson, Sheriff Alistair Noble said only a custodial sentence was appropriate for causing death by dangerous driving.

He said: “It’s obvious that Mr Rowe was a much-loved husband, father and son. His death has brought considerable devastation on a number of lives.”

Sheriff Noble admonished Dickson on a charge of driving without insurance.

An earlier hearing was told Mr Rowe was catapulted from his bike and suffered severe head injuries, dying in hospital three days later. Dickson told police he had approached the junction, slowed down, looked right and left and then pulled out. The first he knew of the bike was hearing a bang.

Dickson received a meritorious award and a certificate from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire for his role in tackling a blaze in Port Seton on February 25, 2010.