Elderly driver who killed pensioner on mobility scooter spared jail

editorial image

The family of a pensioner who died after being knocked off her mobility scooter on a zebra crossing hit out today (Thursday) as the elderly driver who killed her was spared jail at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

Greta Lambie’s daughter said James Cook had “wiped out two generations” of their family as her 97-year-old mother died of a broken heart just weeks later.

Mrs Lambie (75) suffered fatal head injuries when Cook (77), allegedly “distracted” after leaving a supermarket, ploughed into her in Alloa, Clackmannanshire.

At court today Cook was banned from driving for four years, fined £2000 and ordered to re-sit his test before ever getting back behind the wheel.

But Sheriff John Mundy said it would not have been “appropriate” to jail him.

He told Cook, a retired businessman, it was “a very sad case”.

He said: “You’re a man of 77 with no previous convictions.

“This lady, who was on her mobility scooter, is now dead, and the reason for that was careless driving.

“It seems to me that though the court can impose a custodial sentence in these circumstances, it’s not appropriate in this case.

“Nothing I can do today will bring this person back, but it has to be recognised the impact that this has had on this lady’s family — and of course on she herself.

“I think it is appropriate in this case, because there are no aggravating factors, to impose a non-custodial sentence, and in doing so I am following the guidelines applicable in Scotland in relation to causing death by driving.

“I am going to impose a period of disqualification, which has to be reasonably lengthy because of the gravity of the offence, and fine you a substantial sum.”

Margaret Duff (57), the eldest of Mrs Lambie’s six children, said Cook had effectively killed not only her mother but her grandmother, also called Margaret.

She said outside court: “There were five generations up until that day, and after that day, when he killed my mother, he also killed my gran.

“My gran, who was 97, died weeks later because she could not accept what had happened. She was heartbroken. There was five generations, and then, whoosh, wiped out, now there’s only three.

“The sheriff hasn’t considered the effect on the family.”

The court heard Cook, who had just left Tesco in Alloa, had stopped for two pedestrians using the crossing, but set off again as Greta drove onto it on her blue electric scooter.

Prosecutor John Adams said: “She started to cross at 4.1 miles per hour. As the pedestrians touched the pavement on the other side they heard a loud crunch.”

They looked round and saw Mrs Lambie lying on ground unconscious with head injuries, with her mobility scooter directly in front of Cook’s black Vauxhall Astra.

The incident occurred on Greenside Street, Alloa, on October 27 last year.

Mrs Lambie died in hospital two days later from a bleed on the brain.

Cook, of Sauchie, Clacks, who’d held a clean licence for 60 years, admitted causing death by careless driving.

Lawyer Robert Smith said Mrs Lambie’s diminutive stature may have contributed.

He said: “She was only 5ft1 and the scooter was low down. It’s surmising, but possibly he didn’t see her because she didn’t come into his line of vision.

“He may have been distracted by the other pedestrians.

“He simply cannot account for why he didn’t see her.

“He thinks about this tragedy every day.”