Motorist found guilty of causing Wilcot mechanic's death by careless driving

First published in News by

A motorist has been found guilty of causing the death of a 21-year-old Wilcot mechanic by careless driving.

Gutmetin Demirdag, 44, was found guilty of causing the death of Mitchell Leigh Gately following a crash on the A342 at Chirton at about 10.20pm on January 2.

Salisbury Magistrates Court heard yesterday that Demirdag's Nissan Qashqui, travelling westbound towards Devizes, crossed to the wrong side of the road and collided head on with a Suzuki Swift being driven by Mr Gately in the opposite direction.

Mr Gately and his passenger, Christian Jury, were trapped in the vehicle and had to be cut free by the fire service.

Mr Gately, from Wilcot, near Pewsey, suffered serious injuries and was flown by air ambulance to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he died two days later, on January 4.

Mr Jury suffered minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene and Demirdag was taken to Salisbury District Hospital, also with minor injuries.

Francisca Da Costa, defending, said Demirdag had “some sort of black out” which caused him to lose control and swerve into the wrong lane. Lynne Henderson, prosecuting, said investigations revealed it was likely Mr Gately wouldn't have realised that Demirdag's car was travelling directly towards him until it was about 20 metres away. “There was no time to avoid the collision,” she said.

Both the prosecution and defence agreed the road was straight and open, that conditions and visibility were good, and that neither driver had been speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Demirdag said he had driven back from Germany overnight from January 1 to 2 but that tiredness didn't affect him.

Magistrates found Demirdag guilty as there was not sufficient medical evidence to show he could have blacked out.

The court heard Mr Gately, who was born in Salisbury, had been a pupil at Pewsey Vale School before studying at Wiltshire College in Salisbury to become a mechanic.

He worked at Wayside Garage in Etchilhampton and was planning to marry girlfriend Briony Perry, 21, this year.

He lived with his mum, Karen Roff, stepfather James, brother Jolyon and sister Bliss.

Ms Henderson said: “Mrs Roff said she still feels numb having lost Mitchell and it's still very raw. She's always expecting him to walk through the door and she can't concentrate on things like she used to and it has affected her memory. It has ripped the family unit apart.”

Demirdag was given a community order with a six month curfew requirement, ordered to pay £300 costs and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

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