Car smash mum is ordered to pay damages to dead partner's family; CLEARED DRIVER FACES SIX-FIGURE PAYOUT; War hero's grieving family win civil action.
A woman cleared of killing her partner in a car crash has been told to pay his grieving family damages after a second court ruled she did cause his death.
War hero Vincent Kennedy, 32, died after Veronica MacKenzie collided with another vehicle in an accident which also claimed the life of an elderly woman in the other car.
MacKenzie, 36, and the couple's three children all needed medical treatment following the crash on the A85 near Oban four years ago.
She walked free from a criminal court after being cleared of causing Vincent's death by careless driving.
MacKenzie said wet conditions made it impossible for her to control the vehicle.
But judge Lord Uist last week said she was to blame after the dead man's sister Nina Kennedy raised a civil action at Edinburgh's Court of Session.
She now faces a making a six-figure payout to Vincent's family. Lord Uist will decide later this year on how much they should receive.
He said in his judgement, published last week: "No other driver experienced a skid causing an accident over a period of about seven years.
"That fact is, to me, a very strong indication that, at the time of the accident, the road was not so slippery as to be the sole cause of a vehicle going into a skid there.
"In these circumstances the defender has failed to discharge the burden upon her of establishing that the cause of the accident was something other than her negligence.
"I shall find the defender liable to make reparation to the pursuers and continue the cause for a proof on quantum of damages."
Vincent, who worked for a timber firm and lived in Oban with MacKenzie, served in Afghanistan with the Territorial Army regiment 7 Scots.
He was killed when his Vauxhall Vectra - driven by MacKenzie - smashed into a Honda.
MacKenzie spent five weeks in hospital after the crash.
The couple's three children, then aged 14, five and two, were treated for minor injuries.
Widow Mary Gillies, 74, from Fort William, travelling in the other car, was also killed.
MacKenzie was charged with causing the deaths of both Vincent and Mary by careless driving but was cleared of both accusations in May 2015.
Oban Sheriff Court heard the road was wet and slippery on the day of the crash,
MacKenzie's solicitor claimed that Transport Scotland had known about the substandard surface before the smash but failed to upgrade it.
Sheriff Ruth Anderson threw out the case in May 2015. Nina then brought a civil action against MacKenzie.
She claimed the accident was caused by MacKenzie's negligence and not the slippery conditions described at the criminal trial.
It is not known if Vincent's stepson, now 18, or his two children to MacKenzie, now nine and six, will benefit from the action.
Nina, from Springburn, Glasgow, declined to comment, as did MacKenzie.
Her lawyer, Glen Millar of Thompsons Solicitors, denied his client had been found negligent.
He said: "She's taken strength from Lord Uist's decision and from the fact that, for a second time, after hearing all evidence relative to the accident, a court was unable to make any specific finding of negligence by her."
Ma Road was not so slippery as to be sole cause of vehicle going into a skid
CHALLENGE Nina Kennedy
REPARATION Judge says Veronica MacKenzie must pay damages
CRASH VICTIM Vincent Kennedy died in incident
HORROR The scene of the crash
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Sep 10, 2017|
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