Virgin bank boss road death accused: 'I pray for victim's family every day'

A bank executive accused of causing death by dangerous driving on the A1 told a court his alleged victim's family will always be in his thoughts

Gordon Soutar leaving Newcastle Crown court
Gordon Soutar leaving Newcastle Crown court

A bank boss accused of causing death by dangerous driving told a court he prays for his alleged victim’s family every day.

Gordon Soutar, operations director for Virgin Money, told jurors he has no memory of the crash on the A1 in Northumberland which killed 37-year-old Nigel Sowerby.

The 50-year-old said he has been diagnosed with sleep apnoea since the accident and he denies the charge on the basis he must have been having a “micro sleep” at the time.

Soutar, who has never had any points on his licence or been in any trouble with the police before, was giving evidence at his trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

After going through what he could remember about the day of the accident and the aftermath, he was asked by his barrister if there was anything else he wanted to say.

Looking towards Mr Sowerby’s family in the public gallery, he said: “If I could address the family. It has been 16 months since that very tragic accident and there has not been a day that has passed when I have not thought about the family.

“I pray for them every day. Whatever happens after this they will always be in my thoughts.”

Married Soutar, a father of three and a grandfather, told how he had started as an office junior with Bank of Scotland then worked his way up the ranks to senior management level.

He said he had been head-hunted by RBS and also worked for Capita before joining Virgin Money in April 2012. At the time of the accident he had 640 people working for him in Newcastle, Edinburgh and Norwich.

He was doing his usual Monday morning commute in his BMW from his home in Scotland to Gosforth in November 2012.

Soutar said his last memory of the journey was passing a supermarket in Berwick and the next thing he remembers is coming round in the car after the crash, himself seriously injured.

He said since the accident he had been getting the train to Newcastle and does limited driving, always with his wife beside him. He said: “I always have my wife in the car now for comfort. It may be a confidence thing. It’s a big shock and a big scare to be involved in such a serious accident.”

Prosecutors claim Soutar was distracted at the time of the fatal crash on the A1 near Felton.

Soutar, of Cairneyhill, Dunfermline, denies causing death by dangerous driving. The trial continues.

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