Lights-off motorbike rider hit and killed dog walker

Ignacio Abecia. Picture: Kingdom News
Ignacio Abecia. Picture: Kingdom News

A biker killed a dog walker after he rode onto a “pitch black” country road with no lights on before panicking, mounting a pavement and ploughing into the woman.

Ignacio Abecia smashed into Josephine Fernie on the A917 road between Pittenweem and Anstruther - causing her horrific injuries that killed her within minutes.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard Abecia had stopped to fill up his Triumph TT600 motorbike at a garage in Pittenweem minutes before the crash.

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He was seen on CCTV turning off the lights as he used a petrol pump - then moving his hand towards the headlamp switch as he set off again.

However, the light did not come back on.

Seconds later he left the Fife coastal town as he headed towards nearby Anstruther - plunging him into total darkness on a road described by one witness as “pitch black”.

Realising his light had not come back on he tried to turn it back on as a car came towards him.

In that moment his bike lurched across the road, up on to a pavement at the side of the opposing carriageway and careered into council worker Mrs Fernie (53) who was walking her dog towards her father’s house at the time.

Fiscal depute John Adams told Dundee Sheriff Court that witnesses frantically tried to give Mrs Fernie CPR at the side of the road - but that she died at the scene having suffered a complete tear of an artery in her heart.

He said: “The accused was seen by police and when spoken to said ‘I didn’t have any lights on the bike and I didn’t see anything in front of me.

“’I didn’t see the woman because I didn’t have any lights, I didn’t know what bit of road I was on.

“’I hit the woman and then I flew off the bike.

“’I’m sure I had lights on.

“’I saw the road in Pittenweem because of the street lights but nothing after that.’

“A post mortem examination showed Mrs Fernie would have suffered a rapid death.”

Abecia was thrown into a field by the impact and suffered a fractured shoulder blade and a fracture of a thoracic vertebra in his back.

Abecia (46) of Sou’wester Court, Cellardyke, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of causing death by careless driving.

Defence advocate Barney Ross said: “Mr Abecia has expressly instructed me to tender his unreserved apology to the family and loved ones of Josephine Fernie for his part in the tragic accident resulting in her death.

“In that regard he does accept full responsibility for that accident and he expresses his remorse in perhaps the most meaningful way he can by way of his plea of guilty before this court today.”

Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC deferred sentence for social work background reports, banned Abecia from driving in the interim and released him on bail until a sentencing date in April.

She said: “It is a serious matter - your inattention has very sadly resulted in the death of Mrs Fernie.”

In a statement released through the family’s lawyers, Digby Brown, Josephine’s heartbroken relatives said: “We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who tried to help Josephine.

“We also wish to thank our family and friends for their continued support and a big thank you to the police and paramedics who went above the call of duty.

“Finally we are happy to see justice is finally being done and wish now to mourn the loss of mum in peace.”

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