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Driver on trial over smash on Sutherland road

By Caroline McMorran

The trial is being heard at Inverness Sheriff Court.
The trial is being heard at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A horror road smash involving two German motorcyclists and the driver of a high-powered sports car on a remote Sutherland road was recalled in court this week.

Craig Coote, of Liveridge West Yorkshire, has gone on trial charged with causing serious injury to Luiza Cabrera and Annabelle Zekl by dangerous driving.

The 49-year-old denies overtaking in a Porsche on a blind bend into the path of their motorcycles.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told the accident happened at Stronchrubie, on the A835 between Ledmore and Lochinver, in August 2017.

The two women, both aged 24, had been touring in the UK for three days before the accident. They were airlifted to hospital and required treatment for knee injuries. Their bikes were written off.

Miss Cabrera said she had tried to find a way between the Porsche and the car it was overtaking but struck the nearside wing and landed in the road.

Following behind, Ms Zekl heard her friend screaming and saw her trying to squeeze between the two cars. Her motorcycle also collided with the Porsche.

She said she woke up with her machine on top of her.

Jerry Hawker (27), an accident and emergency nurse, and her husband were among the first at the scene of the accident. The couple were touring Scotland in a camper van.

She said they had been overtaken by three sporty hatchbacks including a red Porsche. It appeared the cars were racing each other. The couple then came upon the crash.

Mrs Hawker said she saw the driver of the Porsche at the scene of the crash - Craig Coote.

She spent four hours with others at the scene helping the casualties.

Mazda drover Antyom Semonov (28), a website designer, said he was also overtaken by the three vehicles seconds before the crash.

"The first car came up quite aggressively and then overtook, followed by the second car and then came the Porsche, he said."

He added that the Porsche started to overtake on a blind bend.

Mr Semonov denied suggestions by defence agent Graham Mann that his speed was fluctuating and there was visibility of 200 metres when the Porsche began to overtake.

Mr Semenov said when he saw the approaching motor cycles he braked and pulled in towards the left, avoiding the collision. He too went to offer first aid assistance at the scene.

Road traffic police officer Steve Taylor (38) said the Porsche, a 911 GT3 was a sports performance vehicle often used on race tracks.

The trial continues.

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