Woman jailed for death in head on car crash

A woman has been jailed for just over four years for causing the death of a teenage boy in a head-on crash in Lanarkshire.

Dawn Lovell aged 31, was driving on the A706 near Forth on 24 March 2008 when she pulled out into the oncoming lane on a blind summit to overtake a tanker, and smashed into a car coming the other way.

13-year-old Connor Finlayson, from Carluke, was in the oncoming car driven by his mother Jackie McMillan. Lovell smashed into their Seat Toledo which then spun out of control.

Lovell was driving a Vauxhall Corsa which hit a wall after smashing into the other car. Both drivers were trapped in their cars and had to be cut free by the emergency services. Connor managed to free himself after the car crash but he died two hours later in hospital from chest and abdominal injuries.

Ms McMillan was injured so severely she remained in hospital for seven weeks and even missed her son’s funeral. She sustained serious injuries to her legs, hips and pelvis. She was present in court for the sentencing.

Lovell, from Lanark pleaded guilty to causing the teenagers death by dangerous driving at the High Court in Glasgow.

At the sentencing hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Turnbull said: “Life cannot be restored and neither can its loss be measured by the length of a prison sentence. No sentence I can impose can reconcile the family of Connor Finlayson to their loss or cure their anguish.”

She was jailed for four years and one month after Lord Turnbull said she deserved a reduction to her sentence for pleading guilty. He said that if the case had gone to trial she would have been sentenced to five-and-a-half years. He also banned her from driving for five years and ordered her to re-take an extended driving test.

Several members of Connors family were at the hearing along with his mother. His father Alan Finlayson said: “I am not happy at the sentence she got.” He also expressed his anger at the delays which had meant that case did not go to court for more than a year, prolonging the family’s uncertainty.

Lovell’s defence lawyer Simon Gilbride said after the hearing that Lovell had no memory of the accident but was devastated by the result.

He said: “There is not a day that goes by when she does not think about what she has done. This is obviously a very tragic case and it will be little comfort to the family of Connor Finlayson that she has asked me to convey to them, and to the court, that she is deeply sorry for their loss and for the pain and suffering she has caused to them through her actions.”

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