Court told of drinking binge ahead of fatal accident

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A man accused of killing a Mull vet in a head-on crash was drinking cider and whisky just hours before the accident, a jury was told yesterday (Monday).

Thomas Wainright, 27, who lives in Valbonne, France, denies causing the death of 29-year-old Theresa Wade on the A849 near to Craignure on Mull on October 28, 2015.

It is alleged that he was driving a high-powered black Maserati Ghibli at speeds up to 95mph on the wrong side of the road before colliding with the van driven by Ms Wade.

Holly Siddans, 27, who works as a barmaid in the Mishnish Hotel in Tobermory, told prosecutor Tim Niven-Smith that Wainwright drank four 500ml bottles of Magners cider between lunchtime and around 5pm.

The jury at the High Court in Glasgow was shown CCTV footage of the hotel bar on October 28, 2015.

Ms Siddans said Wainwright and his step-father, Jerome Lopez, who lives on Mull, had three drinks and then went to Macgochans Bar for lunch.

She said that when they returned to the hotel they had a further drink each.

Mr Niven-Smith said: ‘At least as far as the Mishnish is concerned, this is the fourth bottle of Magners served to the accused,’ and Miss Siddans replied: ‘Yes.’

The prosecutor then asked her: ‘Did they have any further drinks?’ and she said: ‘They may have but I left not long after they came back.’

The jury heard that Wainwright and Mr Lopez were also drinking in Macgochans in Tobermory.

Ian McCormick, 58, told the court Wainwright had a pint of cider and Mr Lopez had a pint of lager.

Mr McCormick was asked if they had said where they were going afterwards and he replied: ‘They were going to the distillery.’

Former distillery worker Etla Kolarikova, 23, told the court that Mr Lopez was a friend and she had agreed to let them have a whisky tasting without doing the tour. Ms Kolarikova said: ‘I was on my lunch and Jerome was driving a black Maserati and stopped to introduce me to his step-son. I offered them a few drams of whisky.’

Mr Niven-Smith asked her: ‘Did Mr Wainwright have any whisky?’ and she replied: ‘Yes, I remember him having two drams.’

She said that Mr Lopez, who had the keys to the Maserati, had four drams. Ms Kolarikova told the court she warned Mr Lopez about drinking and driving, but he just laughed.

Mr Niven-Smith asked what day this distillery visit took place and she said it was the day of the accident.

Defence QC Ian Duguid asked Ms Kolarikova: ‘Who had the keys when they left the distillery?’ and she replied: ‘Jerome had the keys of the car.’

The also heard that a motorist driving to rugby practice came across an accident at around 8pm.

Stuart Wilson, 32, manager at Duart Castle, Mull, said he was driving from Craignure towards the rugby club when he saw a single headlight and slowed down.

He said: ‘There were two gentlemen in the road and they waved me to stop.’

Mr Wilson told the court he knew one of them as Jerome and identified the other younger man in court as Wainwright.

Prosecutor Tim Niven-Smith said: ‘Did you speak with the young man?’ and Mr Wilson replied: ‘He said, “We can’t find the other person from the other car”. I had a look and saw the person was in the car and I phoned for an ambulance.’

Mr Wilson added that Wainwright was asked if he had been drinking and replied: ‘I’ve just had a dram at the pub.’

The court heard that Wainwright burst into tears when he heard from ambulance staff that Ms Wade was dead.

Earlier Ronald Wilson, who works at Craignure Pier, said he had been in the Craignure Inn from about 7pm on October 28, 2015, and saw Mr Lopez and Wainwright there.

He was asked how many drinks they had had and replied: ‘They would have had at least two drinks.’

Mr Wilson was asked about a conversation he had had with the two men and said he could not remember it.

When he was taken to his police statement, he agreed he had asked the two men who was driving home and Wainwright told him: ‘The car knows its own way home.’

Wainwright is also charged with failing to provide a breath test. He is also accused of performing ‘donuts’ with the high performance car and driving the wrong way round a roundabout and on the wrong side of the road on various occasions between October 24 and 27, last year, on the island.

Wainwright denies all the charges.

The jury has heard that Wainwright hired the Maserati on October 22, 2015, from Sixt Rent a Car at Edinburgh Airport and was due to return it on October 31, 2015.

The car was fitted with a Trak Global Solutions box which transmits data to a remote computer.

The trial before Judge John Morris QC continues.