Tourist guilty of ‘wrong way’ death crash in East Lothian

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Elizabeth HendersonImage copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Elizabeth Henderson, 83, died from her injuries

An American woman killed a pensioner in a head-on crash after driving on the wrong side of a road in East Lothian.

Caroline Emmet, who lives in Paris, had denied causing the death of Elizabeth Henderson, 83, by dangerous driving.

But at the High Court in Edinburgh a jury found the 56-year-old American citizen guilty of the offence.

The fatal collision happened on the A198 North Berwick to Tranent road, near a junction with Archerfield Estate.

Emmet was travelling to Edinburgh Airport with two other women and two children when the crash happened on 19 July 2017.

Multiple fractures

The court head that when she emerged from the estate on to the main road, she drove on the wrong side of the road for about 500m (550yds).

She collided with the car in which Mrs Henderson, from North Berwick, was a back seat passenger.

The pensioner suffered multiple pelvis and limb fractures in the crash as well as internal bleeding.

She died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 21 July in 2017, two days after the collision.

Emmet previously offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving, but a jury convicted her of death by dangerous driving.

Following the verdict the judge told jurors that he had not yet formed a view whether a prison sentence would be imposed or not.

Lord Glennie called for a background report to be prepared on the first offender and allowed her to remain at liberty.

‘Completely devastated’

Emmet, a mother-of-one, told the court that she had never driven on the left hand side of the road before 2017 when she came to Scotland for a friend’s birthday party.

When she arrived in Edinburgh she rented a car and a friend met her at the airport so that the first time she drove on the left she would not be alone.

She told the court that before the crash, she thought she was on the correct side of the road and slowed at a bend.

“I remember seeing the car coming at me and then there was the collision,” she said.

She added that she did not have time to take evasive action to avoid the oncoming car.

She later sent an email to a police officer identifying herself as the driver who “accidentally provoked” the collision.

She said she felt “terrible” about the incident and hoped with all her heart that those injured were recovering.

The former communications consultant said she then learnt that one woman had died leaving her “completely devastated” by the news.

Emmet is due to be sentenced on October 8.

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