18-month jail term for driver who killed friend in crash

The scene of the fatal crash in April 2011
The scene of the fatal crash in April 2011

A DRIVER who killed his best friend in a crash in April 2011 was last week jailed for 18 months.

Douglas Calder (39), appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday where he was sentenced following a week-long trial in Aberdeen.

Calder lost control of his Porsche on a rural Buchan road and hit a wall, causing the vehicle to overturn several times in a field.

His passenger, William Webber (36), died instantly in the accident, which occurred on the unclassified Ardlaw-Strichen road around a mile from Mr Webber’s home at Hillhead of Tyrie. Calder, whose address as given as Santa Coloma, Andorra, Spain, had originally been accused of dangerous driving. However, a jury convicted him of the lesser charge of driving carelessly.

During his trial, Calder - who has not driven since the crash - said he had been travelling between 60-65mph, and that he and webber had been chatting and “having a laugh” minutes before he lost control of the vehicle, which he had planned to sell later that day.

He said that he remembered the back right of the car ‘tilting’ down shortly before it left the road. However, police experts told the jury that they concluded the accident had been caused by a combination of excessive speed and the layout of the road.

Calder’s defence counsel said that there had been a great deal of remorse shown by his client, stating that he had referred to Mr Webber as his closest friend.

Sentencing Calder, Lord Stewart said that the impact on the Webber family had been “devastating”.

He said that Mr Webber’s wife had suffered a miscarriage days after the accident and had “lost everything”.