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21 October 2016, 12:20
A speeding drink-driver who caused the death of a mother in a crash as she returned home from her son's wedding has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
Mary Laurie, also known as Marie, was making her way back from the celebrations in November last year when the taxi she and her husband had just got into was hit by a car being chased by police in Glasgow.
The 57-year-old, from the Easterhouse area of Glasgow, lost consciousness minutes after being thrown through a window of the cab in the collision at the junction of Edinburgh Road and Springboig Road.
Steven Bennie, 21, who pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at a hearing last month, was sentenced to seven years and six months when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.
Sentencing Bennie, judge Lord Boyd said: "On the 29th of November last year, Mary Laurie was returning home with her husband from what must've been one of the happiest days of her life, her son's wedding.
"In an instant that life was gone and a family who had just been celebrating were left to mourn that loss.''
Bennie was disqualified from driving for 10 years.
He was also sentenced to eight months for drink-driving and disqualified for one year, with the terms to run concurrently.
Lord Boyd said: "It's difficult to imagine a more serious level of dangerous driving than you displayed.
"You drove a car without a full licence, while uninsured, and you were under the influence of alcohol.
"You drove at speed with the police in pursuit and reached speeds of up to 80mph in a 30mph zone. You turned off your headlights, and finally you went through a red light.''
During the earlier hearing, the court heard how Bennie reached high speeds in an effort to shake off the police pursuit.
Police had become suspicious of the Vauxhall Astra he was driving when he stopped to eat takeaway ice-cream at Springhill industrial estate with a friend in the early hours of Sunday November 29.
Bennie, who was 20 at the time, declared ''F***, I've not got a licence'' when he saw the police van approach and he drove off.
Officers switched on their blue lights and followed the vehicle, signalling they wanted it to stop.
Bennie initially slowed down, then headed off ''at speed'', prompting the chase.
Meanwhile, Mrs Laurie - carrying a bouquet of flowers from the wedding in Ayrshire - hailed a taxi at about 1.30am for the last leg of her journey home.
Just as the taxi turned on to Edinburgh Road, Bennie's vehicle came across the junction through the red light and collided with the side of the taxi.
Mrs Laurie was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where she was pronounced dead as a result of head and chest injuries.
Her husband James suffered seven rib fractures and a laceration to his liver, while Bennie's passenger was taken to A&E after being trapped in the crash.