May 17th, 2013

Scandalous sentence for cyclist killer

Gary McCourt was found guilty of causing the death of Audrey Fyfe, 75, in August 2011 by careless driving. He was sentenced to only 300 hours of community service and a 5-year driving ban.  This was not McCourt’s first conviction for causing the death of a cyclist, McCourt having been previously sentenced to a two-year custodial sentence for the 1985 killing of cyclist of George Dalgity in a hit and run incident.

Audrey Fyfe, a lifelong cyclist, was found by Sheriff Scott to bear no blame at all for the accident, but Sheriff Scott – taking account of matters of no legal relevance and without hearing expert medical evidence – decided that by not wearing a helmet, Audrey Fyfe contributed towards her own death.

The sentence has caused a public outcry and we share the Cyclists’ Touring Club’s (CTC) view in their letter to the Lord Advocate ( that proper regard to the issues in this case would place McCourt’s driving at the more serious end of causing death by careless driving and that the sentence handed down on 3rd May 2013 was unduly lenient in all the circumstance.

We have joined with the family to support their request for an appeal of the sentence imposed.  Audrey’s daughter, Aileen Brown asks:

How can the courts believe that a temporary restriction in [McCourt’s] choice of transport is an appropriate punishment for taking yet another life?  [McCourt] has inflicted a lifetime sentence of irreplaceable loss on our family and friends.  Sadly, mum won’t be back in 5 years’ time.  Our lives will never be the same …. The Sheriff also stated that in his opinion, mum not wearing a helmet contributed to her death.  Wearing a helmet is not a legal requirement.   If McCourt had hit a pedestrian, would the Sheriff have suggested they too should have been wearing a helmet?

If you wish to support the campaign for a stronger sentence for McCourt please follow this link:

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