A callous driver who ploughed into a man on a remote country road and then left him for dead has avoided a prison sentence.
Ian Milne was behind the wheel when he ran over 49-year-old Joseph McCarthy, causing fatal injuries.
However, rather than stopping to help his victim, heartless Milne drove off.
And, in a desperate bid to avoid being caught, the uninsured driver abandoned his car nearby, took to his heels and called the police a short time later to report the vehicle as stolen.
Dad-of-four Mr McCarthy - a popular musician who was known to shoppers in Paisley town centre as ‘Joe the Busker’ - suffered serious injuries and died in hospital two days later.
Yesterday, a sheriff told Milne he could easily have been jailed but, instead, would be fined, banned from the roads for three years and ordered to carry out community service.
Mr McCarthy’s heartbroken family were too upset to comment after sentence had been passed.
However, one of his friends told the Paisley Daily Express: “It’s shocking that Milne hasn’t been sent to prison.
“Joe would still be with us if it wasn’t for him.
“I was sickened when I heard he had dumped his car after hitting Joe and then called the police to say it had been stolen.”
Paisley Sheriff Court earlier heard that, despite Milne’s attempts to cover up his crime, police were soon on his trail.
After cops carried out inquiries, he was charged with causing Mr McCarthy’s death by driving carelessly and without insurance cover, failing to stop and report the incident and attempting to pervert the course of justice by falsely reporting that his vehicle had been stolen.
When 56-year-old Milne appeared in the dock, he denied causing Mr McCarthy’s death and this plea was accepted by the Crown.
He admitted all of the other charges against him, including causing the death while uninsured.
The court was told that, on the morning of January 9 this year, several motorists had called the police to say a man had been staggering on a road in Houston.
Milne’s car later mowed down Mr McCarthy on Houston Road.
The incident took place just after 6am and, by 7am, Milne had called the police to report that his car had been stolen from outside his home in Loch Road, Bridge of Weir.
Mr McCarthy, of Green Road, Paisley, had gone to Johnstone the night before to make an enquiry about his guitar but it was not known how he had come to end up in Houston.
The court heard it had been ascertained that he suffered from epileptic fits and had not taken any alcohol prior to the tragedy.
After the accident, Mr McCarthy was rushed to Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital and immediately transferred to the intensive care unit.
Two days later, his life support machine was turned off.
Milne’s car had been recovered around two hours after the accident, showing signs of damage, in the grounds of Houston Primary School.
Later that morning, he handed himself in to police in Paisley and confessed to being the driver involved.
He told officers that Mr McCarthy had stepped out in front of him and he “could not do anything about it.”
After considering all of the circumstances, Sheriff Colin Pettigrew said that, had it not been for the fact Milne had suffered pangs of conscience and handed himself in before police managed to track him down, he would have been facing custody.
Making him the subject of an 18-month Community Payback Order requiring him to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, Sheriff Pettigrew also disqualified him from driving for three years and fined him £400.