Published: 15/08/2012 17:46 - Updated: 16/08/2012 09:05

Drunk learner driver jailed for causing fatal Caithness crash

 A LEARNER driver from Halkirk who killed his friend after crashing a car while under the influence of alcohol was jailed for five years today.

Judge Lord Pentland sentenced Stuart McCulloch (28), of Clayock to five years in prison at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The court heard how McCulloch had been seen drunk in Thurso in the early hours of February 26 last year.

Around 3am that morning on the Thurso to Inverness road, near Spittal, McCulloch lost control of the Vauxhall Astra, spun across the road out of control and smashed into a stone building and a dry stone dyke.

McCulloch’s friend Michael Cameron was found in the passenger seat of the wrecked Astra, wearing his seat belt. He had suffered fatal head injuries and died instantly.

A semi-conscious McCulloch was about 100ft down the road and told witnesses he had not been driving, causing police to search nearby fields.

Crash investigators found debris scattered over both sides of the road and the car engine and bonnet torn off.

They said the car was driving “at speed” but could not establish how fast.

The investigators also said that after the crash the driver probably opened his door, rather than being flung from the wreck.

McCulloch was also banned from driving for ten years.

*For more on this story see Friday’s John O’Groat Journal.

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