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The taxi driver who killed a young student who did “honor to her family” is banned for 15 months


A taxi driver who tragically killed a young student narrowly escaped prison and was told he must now “benefit the community”.

Steven Clifford Cohen, of Speirs Road, Johnstone, admitted to causing Astrid Yeates’ death by crushing him.

Tax attorney Harry Finlay previously told the court that Astrid was on his way to a bus stop on his way to Strathclyde University when she collided with Cohen, 58, on the A77 in Giffnock.

Earlier today, the court ordered him to do 130 hours of unpaid work and was banned from driving for 15 months.

His lawyer said: “He cannot explain why he did not see Miss Yeates until his car collided with her.

“He accepts not to have seen her and to have deprived her of his life.

Cohen – who was a taxi driver for eight years and had held a driver’s license since the age of 17 – kept his license during the holiday season.

Mr. Finlay explained: “The deceased had spent the night before with her family.

“On the day of the collision, Ms. Yeates was scheduled to give a visual presentation on the University of Strathclyde scholarship program.

“She was a master’s student at this university.

“She and her mother intended to travel together on the number 38 bus to Glasgow.

“Ms. Yeates was organized, she had left her clothes the night before and her mother made her breakfast that morning before leaving for the bus at around 7:27 am.

“Her mother left the house shortly after.”

Astrid Yeates was tragically killed

Tragically, this was the last time Ms Yeates had cooked her daughter’s breakfast, as when she was crossing the street to get to the bus stop, Cohen’s silver Skoda Octavia collided with the youngster. 21-year-old woman throwing it “up and down” on the car.

Mr Finlay added: “The accused is unable to say why the collision occurred and he was not aware of Ms Yeates’ presence.

“There were shoe marks on the road that identified his body being dragged along the road before it came to a stop.

“There was damage to several areas of the car including the windshield, bumper and headlight, and the adjacent windshield was shattered.

“Ms. Yeates suffered a laceration to her thigh and fractures to the back of her skull.

“She suffered indirect and direct brain damage.

“Reviews show Ms. Yeates was only on the road between 2.22 and 3.14 seconds.

“If it hadn’t been for the collision, Ms. Yeates wouldn’t have died.”

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Members of the public – including two doctors – rushed to help Astrid as she lay unconscious on the road on January 18, 2019,

Paramedics rushed to the scene and she was taken by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow where her condition “deteriorated”.

Mr. Finlay explained that the autopsy concluded that she died of a “head injury caused by a traffic accident”.

She is survived by her parents, her younger sister and her boyfriend.

Defense attorney, Ms Connelly, offered “sincere condolences” to the Yeates family on behalf of Cohen for the loss of their daughter and sister.

Ms Connelly told the court: “Mr. Cohen is overcome with remorse for his actions that day and lives daily with the responsibility his actions have taken over the life of a young woman.

“He can’t explain why he didn’t see Miss Yeates until his car collided with her.”

“He accepts not to have seen her and to have deprived her of his life.

“He has voluntarily given up his job as a taxi driver and is ready to do whatever the court requires of him.”

Upon sentencing, Sheriff Gillian Craig said: “To say that what happened was a great tragedy does not go far enough.

“It was a morning that started normally for Astrid Yeates who was going to college.

“She brought honor to her family and I can’t imagine the heartache.

“Nothing I can do or say today will relieve this heartache, and I will not attempt to do so either.”

“It’s not dangerous driving, it’s reckless driving and the guilt is even more difficult to assess.

“This is a case of momentary inattention.

“Given the circumstances, I don’t think a custodial sentence is appropriate and instead I will impose a provision that will benefit the community.”

Sheriff Craig ordered Cohen to do 130 hours of unpaid work within 12 months and banned him from driving for 15 months.

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