Lawyer admits causing OAP’s death in Uddingston road crash

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard of fatal crash.
Hamilton Sheriff Court heard of fatal crash.

A solicitor has admitted driving too fast and causing the death of a pensioner in Uddingston.

Joseph Leitch (79) suffered fatal head injuries when he was hit by Liana di Ciacca’s car as he tried to cross Main Street after getting off a bus.

Di Ciacca (30), of North Deanpark Avenue, Bothwell, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court where she admitted causing death by careless driving in October 2012.

The pensioner died after being struck by her Ford Kuga which was travelling at a speed estimated between 37 and 40 miles an hour in the built-up area, close to Gardenside Avenue.

Ziad Hassan, prosecuting, said the collision happened around 5.20pm. Although it was dark the street was well-lit and it was dry.

The tragedy was captured by CCTV cameras which showed widower Mr Leitch getting off a bus and starting to cross the road.

Mr Hassan told the court: “It appears he saw the Kuga coming towards him and started running across the road. The driver swerved in an attempt to avoid him, but was unsuccessful.”

Mr Leitch suffered ‘significant’ head and chest injuries and was taken to Monklands Hospital where he died later that evening.

Mr Hassan said a police investigation followed and CCTV images were used to estimate di Ciacca’s speed.

The road narrows in the area around the crash scene and there are parking bays, a bus stop and a pedestrian crossing.

Mr Hassan told the court: “The Crown contends that these points suggest a careful and competent driver should reduce speed on approach and while travelling through this locus.”

Mr Leitch, of Green Street, Bothwell, had undergone heart surgery in 2007. At the time of his death he was suffering from dementia, but this was in the early stages and he was responding to treatment.

Sheriff Joyce Powrie was given statements from the victim’s two grown-up daughters on the impact the tragedy has had on their lives.

Di Ciacca’s advocate said his client wished to apologise to Mr Leitch’s family. He told the court: “She has sincere remorse and regret that this accident had such tragic consequences and expresses her sincere sympathy to the family of Mr Leitch.”

Sheriff Powrie, who heard that di Ciacca has a clean licence, deferred sentence until next month for background reports. The accused had her bail continued but was disqualified from driving pending the outcome of the case.