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Daughter distraught after Dundee pensioner found not guilty of causing mother’s death in crash

Pamela Cochrane was killed in the accident.
Pamela Cochrane was killed in the accident.

The daughter of a woman who died of her injuries after being knocked down at a “nightmare” Dundee junction has spoken of the hardship of losing her beloved mother.

Carolyn Cochrane, 51, a former civil servant, was left distraught following her mum’s death in the winter of 2019 following a car collision.

Sheriff Richard McFarlane found Muriel Charman not guilty of causing Pamela Cochrane’s death by careless driving following a trial at Dundee Sheriff Court.

She hit Mrs Cochrane with her Citroen C3 after the 78-year-old had visited the local Spar for a fruit cup.

The court heard evidence Charman, 79, of Glamis Drive, told police after the collision “I didn’t see her.

“I can’t understand how I didn’t see her.”

Police examine Charman’s car.

However, Sheriff McFarlane ruled he had not been convinced Charman had reached the threshold for the crime.

He said: “At that location and position you would not have anticipated (her crossing).

“Your ability to see what was going to happen would not have been enough.

“I am not persuaded the prosecution have proved in the circumstances your driving fell below what would be expected of a competent driver.

“You have been found not guilty of this charge.”

‘Friend, companion, helper’

Mrs Pamela Cochrane was a mother-of-one who previously lived with husband and daughter in the old school house in Lunan Bay, before moving to Edinburgh.

Carolyn stayed in Dundee and was diagnosed with a neurological condition in 2006.

Mrs Cochrane moved to Dundee to help care for her in 2012 and they lived in separate houses but close by.

Carolyn has since moved into the house which belonged to her mum, who worked selling high-end property.

Pamela Cochrane.

“There was just mum and myself,” she said.

“As my condition progressed, mum gave up her retirement and moved to Dundee.

“She gave up everything to help me and that’s the type of person she was.

“She liked Dundee because in Edinburgh, getting anywhere was like a round-world trip and she loved the fact in Dundee she could be anywhere in about 10 minutes.

“She managed to get a house with a lovely big garden – she loved that, she loved wildlife and animals.

“My mum was my best friend, my companion, my helper and I’ve become basically housebound since mum was killed.”

Final image of mother

Miss Cochrane’s mobility scooter was damaged over the winter and she has not been able to visit a memorial tree for her wildlife-loving mother at the Dundee Botanics.

She said: “This has basically destroyed my life.

“She might as well have killed me that day as well.

“Mum and I did everything together – we saw each other two or three times a day.”

Pamela Cochrane.

Speaking of the impact her mother’s death has had on her, Carolyn added: “It was as if she was a discarded crisp packet on the road.

“Mum had driven 10 minutes before in exactly the same make and model of car and successfully navigated the roads without killing anybody.

“The image that will be left in my mind is her in hospital – pulverised, broken, black, green and purple – I don’t think I’ll eve get rid of that image.”

Can’t understand verdict

Miss Cochrane has been left frustrated with the justice system, adding she was not able to attend the final days of the trial due to mobility issues.

Muriel Charman.

She could not gain access to the court for Friday’s verdict.

“I don’t understand (the verdict) especially with Ms Charman living so close to where the accident happened.

“The majority of drivers tend to slow down and drive with extra caution because it’s known there is disabled housing and sheltered housing for pensioners.

“All we heard was how she didn’t see her.

“I don’t understand that when there were witnesses who said they saw mum. I’m just baffled.

“People have said to me, if that was an 18-year-old driving, would they have had the same sentence?”

“Her refusal to agree a plea has dragged out this case from November 2019 and I’ve had to live with that delay.”

Thanks to Spar staff

Miss Cochrane thanked staff at the Spar who came to her mother’s aid that night, as well as the gentleman who placed her mother’s necklace in her handbag.

Glamis Road police presence
Police at the site of the 2019 fatality in Dundee.

“I couldn’t open her bag for weeks after she died.

“When I did, I found her necklace, neatly wrapped up inside of it.

“I am really grateful to the person who did that and for all the support I have received from loved ones.”