A kidney patient killed the nurse who helped with his dialysis when he veered across the road and crashed into an oncoming articulated lorry.
James Baird had formed a relationship with Helima Massabo, 51, and was on holiday with her when he drifted across the A9 and caused the fatal accident.
Baird admitted driving carelessly for “three seconds” and causing the death of the mother-of-two in Perthshire on July 8 last year.
He was warned by a sheriff yesterday he could be sent to prison, and sentence was deferred to check whether the Scottish Prison Service could cope with his thrice-weekly dialysis needs.
Solicitor Ian McClelland said: “There is nothing I can say that takes away the pain of all concerned in these tragic events.
“He no longer has the future to look forward to that he thought he had. My client has suffered grief because this was someone very close to him.
“They knew each other because my client was receiving dialysis. He thinks about this every day.
“There has been three seconds’ inattention to the road with devastating and tragic consequences.”
Perth Sheriff Court was told the couple had been on a weekend break and were returning home when Baird failed to change direction coming out of a bend.
Depute fiscal John Adams said: “Mrs Massabo (she was previously married) began a new relationship with the accused, who she had known for years through her employment as a nurse in the renal unit in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where the accused regularly attended to receive dialysis.
“The collision was recorded by the front-facing dashboard-mounted camera located on witness Stephen Sharp’s heavy goods vehicle.
“The locus of this collision is the A9 Perth to Inverness road, around 1km north of its junction with the access road to Dalnaspidal.
“The accused was driving his blue Hyundai Tucson. Mrs Massabo was a front-seat passenger. They were travelling south from Inverness.
“Witnesses describe the accused’s manner of driving prior to the collision as unremarkable, nothing untoward or concerning. They were all in a steady line of traffic, travelling around 55mph.
“Stephen Sharp saw the accused’s car slowly veer from the southbound to northbound lane, directly into his path. Mr Sharp immediately braked heavily.
“He couldn’t steer his vehicle to the offside because he would have collided with oncoming traffic. He couldn’t avoid the collision.
“All witnesses noticed the accused’s car appeared to maintain the same speed and direction towards the lorry. There was no reaction from the accused whatsoever.”
The couple were trapped in the car as a result of the impact and Mrs Massabo was declared dead at the scene, while the accused also suffered serious injuries.
Baird, 59, of Potter Grove, Glasgow, had no drugs or alcohol in his system and there was no evidence he had been using his mobile phone. He admitted causing death by careless driving.
Mr McClelland said: “The simple fact is he does not know what happened to cause him not to turn the steering wheel slightly left to take account of the change in road direction, but to continue into the path of the vehicle in those three seconds.
“He accepts that for whatever reason he must have taken his eyes off the road and he is responsible. He was unable to help the police as he couldn’t answer the question.”
Sheriff William Wood said: “Bends don’t happen out of nowhere, and anyone paying attention would have seen the bend coming up and anticipate what happens next.
“It seems to me this goes beyond a momentary lapse and because of the circumstances I need to consider whether a custodial sentence is going to be appropriate.
“I have to take into account your health needs and whether they can be met within the prison estate.”
Friends of Ms Massabo raised funds for her funeral through a crowdfunding initiative and paid tribute to the Glasgow woman on social media.
Kenny Quinn wrote: “So shocked to hear that your no longer with us honey. A nicer person you couldn’t meet.”
Christine Cox added: “R.I.P Helima Massabo beautiful angel gone to soon xxx.”
Lynsey Brennan Haviland said: “RIP Helima, I will miss you so much and all your pranks at work. Fly high beautiful angel.”