Camelon dad cleared of killing son in tragic accident

Craig Tetsill was killed after being hit by a pick-up van while working in Inveness-shire
Craig Tetsill was killed after being hit by a pick-up van while working in Inveness-shire

A heartbroken father has spoken of his relief at being cleared of killing his son in a tragic cycling accident.

Andrew Tetsill was devastated at the loss of son Craig while the pair were working in the Highlands over two years ago.

It’s been a nightmare and not easy for the past two years. Craig wasn’t just my son, he was my workmate and best friend

Andrew Tetsill

However, he was shocked when months later he was charged with causing his death by careless driving on an unmarked road near Wester Aberchalder, east of Loch Ness.

The 42-year-old then faced a three-day trial held over several months at Inverness Sheriff Court.

But last Friday, Sheriff Margaret Neilson acquitted Mr Tetsill.

Yesterday, the Camelon dad said his whole family had suffered during the court case.

He said: “Craig wasn’t just my son, he was my workmate and best friend.

“We’ve all been suffering 
during this time – my wife Janette, daughter Alyson and son Scott, the whole family.

“It’s not been easy for the past two years. Although close 
family and friends knew what happened, I always thought 
people were pointing the finger at me. But now they will know the truth.”

Death was ‘freak’ accident

The trip back to his Highland digs ended in tragedy when cyclist Craig Tetsill was killed in a freak collision with a van driven by his dad Andrew.

But the accident signalled the start of a nightmare for his family as first they had to cope with the young man’s death and then his father being accused of causing it.

Last Friday, Mr Tetsill (42) was finally found not guilty after a trial.

Speaking from his home in Fairlie Drive, Camelon, the grieving dad said his entire family had suffered since Craig’s death on May 16, 2013.

He said: “It’s been a nightmare and not easy for the past two years. Craig wasn’t just my son, he was my workmate and best friend.”

Mr Tetsill recalled how in the minutes after the accident he cradled his dying son in his arms. But added that since he was charged with causing Craig’s death by careless driving he had become almost reclusive, believing people were pointing the finger at him.

He said: “But now they will know the truth. The court case was a farce.”

Sheriff Margaret Neilson acquitted him after a three-day trial that was dragged out over several months.

The accident occurred on an unclassified road leading to Wester Aberchalder, east of Loch Ness, after the pair had finished a shift pipe laying.

It was only days after Craig had celebrated his 21st birthday.

Father and son used to cycle to work together but Andrew’s bike was damaged and that day he had taken a pick-up van.

He said: “I was following Craig and was in first gear going downhill, I watched him go into a bellmouth at the side of the road and I manoeuvred past, going as far over as I could.

“Looking in my mirror I saw him balancing on his pedals as you often see cyclists doing, then there was a thump. I thought he was hitting the van as I drove past, but I stopped.”

Going round the side of the van he saw his son sitting upright but immediately knew there was something wrong because of the noise Craig was making.

“When I saw his eyes rolling, I knew it was really bad. Then he stopped breathing.

“I’ve been trained in first aid so started hitting his chest and got him breathing again.”

Workmate George Law had been travelling behind the van and Andrew shouted at him to go for help.

A woman living in a nearby house came out to help with first-aid, encouraging the dad to continue with CPR.

Andrew said: “I was hysterical by this point and wishing it was me lying there. Then I saw blood streaming out of Craig’s mouth and knew that he must have suffered a serious head injury.”

“Eventually an ambulance arrived and I was ushered away.”

In the months following Craig’s death Andrew tried to console wife Janette and son Scott (14) and daughter Alyson (21), as well as helping police with their investigations.

However, he was stunned when he was told that he was being charged with causing his son’s death.

“I knew I hadn’t done it but was made to feel like a criminal.”