Man jailed over teacher’s death

Joan and Steven Machell

Joan and Steven Machell

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A DRIVER who crashed head on into a car killing a former Poulton teacher and his wife is today waking up behind bars.

Kevin McCrindle, 37, of Grieve Walk, Dumfries, had previously been convicted of causing the deaths of Steven Machell, who taught at Baines School for more than 16 years, and his wife Joan.

Their daughter, Joanna Shaw, said her parents had been “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

McCrindle, who had been attempting to overtake other vehicles at speeds of 93mph at the time of the crash, was also banned from the road for seven years but his solicitor said he had no intention of driving again.

Mr Machell and his wife, a university researcher, both 63 from Lancaster, were travelling to a Robert Burns convention in March last year when the crash took place on the A75 near Dumfries.

At the High Court in Glasgow Judge Lord Stewart told him: “You attempted an overtaking manoeuvre of two vehicles when your view was obscured by spray.

“You were travelling at 93mph and collided head-on with the Machells’ vehicle.”

Outside court the eldest of the couple’s four children, Ms Shaw, said her parents had 10 grandchildren who had been “devastated” by their deaths.

She said: “They all loved spending time with their grandparents. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

After finding him guilty of causing the couple’s death by dangerous driving, the court was told McCrindle had previously been convicted of careless driving on the A75 in May 2004.

Advocate depute Michael Stuart, prosecuting, said this involved McCrindle tailgating another motorist as well as “flashing lights and making gestures”.

Solicitor advocate Bill McVicar, representing McCrindle, said he was “devastated” by what had happened.

The judge jailed the defendant for six years.

Mr Machell had worked in the design technology department at Baines before his retirement in August 2006, and was remembered for acting as Santa every Christmas in lower school assemblies.

More than 460 students paid tribute to Mr Machell on social networking site Facebook after his death, and headteacher Roddy McCown described him as “much loved” by former pupils and colleagues.