Woman killed in Ballantrae crash by driver speeding at 100mph

William Kennedy
William Kennedy

A driver speeding at more than 100mph to catch a ferry killed a woman and seriously injured her husband in a horror smash.

William Kennedy (48) went on the wrong side of the road and ploughed into a car in which Patricia and Robert McIlwraith were in.

Patricia (49) never survived the crash on the A76 near Ballantrae, Ayrshire in July 2018.

Robert (64) meantime had to be airlifted to hospital. He suffered a broken spine, two punctured lungs and kidney damage.

There had initially been fears he may never walk again.

Kennedy, of Drongan, Ayrshire, is now behind bars after he pled guilty yesterday to causing death by dangerous driving.

The charge also stated Robert was left severely injured and permanently impaired.

Kennedy was remanded in custody at the High Court in Glasgow pending sentencing later this month.

The hearing was told Kennedy had made a booking for him and three others to travel on the Cairnryan to Larne ferry on July 7 2018.

Prosecutor Greg Farrell said: “It can reasonably be inferred that at the time of the collision, he was in a hurry to make the ferry.”

Other motorists clocked him going at “grossly excessive” speeds in his Ford Ranger pick-up.

Mr Farrell added: “At 2.32pm – three minutes before the collision – Kennedy reached in excess of 100mph.”

The McIlwraiths – married for 28 years and have two daughters – had been returning meantime from a shopping trip to Stranraer.

The couple lived in Colmonell, Ayrshire.

Kennedy ended up on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend before crashing into the McIlwraiths’ oncoming Ford Fusion.

He was said to have been going at 64mph – above the 50mph limit – at the time.

Two passing doctors rushed to help the couple. Shop assistant Patricia was found to have died while her husband was flown to hospital in Glasgow.

A post mortem revealed the mum had suffered a fatal chest injury.

Robert – known as Rab – spent several months in hospital.

Mr Farrell: “His mobility has been substantially impaired and he needs to use a wheelchair most of the time. He has had to move house to one which has been adapted. He will require significant assistance with daily living for the rest of his life.”

Robert – who worked as a forester – was at court yesterday accompanied by family. He was using crutches to help him walk.

Kennedy had been on bail before it was revoked by judge Lord Burns.

Sentencing was deferred for reports.

Robert had been praised by medics after he spoke about his ordeal last October.

He was latterly treated at Girvan Community Hospital in Ayrshire.

Doctors in Glasgow had said Robert may never walk again – but the brave dad battled and was eventually able to get about with the help of elbow crutches.

Elaine Anderson – physio team lead at Girvan – said: “We are immensely proud of helping Rab get to this stage. He is a truly remarkable individual.”

Police Scotland welcomed the conviction.

Road Policing Inspector Greg Dinnie said: “William Kennedy chose to drive in a dangerous manner which tragically took the life of an innocent member of the public and seriously injured another, which could have so easily been avoided.

“I would like to thank members of the public who witnessed the crash and helped our investigation following what was a very traumatic incident. William Kennedy will have to live with the consequences of his actions and our thoughts remain with Patricia’s family and friends.”