‘Closure’ for family of St Ives couple killed in head-on collision

Giovanni Coppolaro and his wife Maria, died after they were involved in a collision on the A73 in No

Giovanni Coppolaro and his wife Maria, died after they were involved in a collision on the A73 in North Lanarkshire on July 27, 2015. - Credit: Archant

The family of a well-known couple from St Ives who died after the car they were passengers in was involved in a collision say they have some closure following an inquest into their deaths.

Giovanni Coppolaro and his wife Maria, died after they were involved in a collision on the A73 in No

Giovanni Coppolaro and his wife Maria, died after they were involved in a collision on the A73 in North Lanarkshire on July 27, 2015. - Credit: Archant

The family of a well-known couple from St Ives who died after the car they were passengers in was involved in a collision say they have some closure following an inquest into their deaths.

Giovanni Coppolaro and his wife Maria, of Burstellars, were travelling to a family funeral when their Jaguar car, driven by their son, Gennaro, collided with a silver Volkswagen Golf on the A73 in North Lanarkshire, on July 27, 2015.

Despite a police investigation into the couple’s death, their family will never see the driver of the Volkswagen Golf, Sandy Hamilton, 35, brought before a court after he died in a speedboat accident on May 7 – just weeks before a trial was due to begin.

“Even though it was very difficult and emotional bringing back a lot of the detail about what happened on that tragic morning, it was a relief to officially have it acknowledged that the other driver, Sandy Hamilton, was very much guilty of extremely dangerous driving,” Gennaro said, following the inquest.


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Prior to this death, Mr Hamilton had denied two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and another of driving without insurance.

The inquest, held last Wednesday, heard witness accounts of the moments leading up to the fatal crash, in which Hamilton was said to have overtaken a car before he attempted to overtake a HGV in slow-moving traffic.

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A report by the Procurator Fiscal Depute, the prosecution service for Scotland, said: “The standard of driving demonstrated by the accused, Sandy Hamilton, has fallen well below the standard expected of a competent driver.

“The accused appears to be in a hurry. He has carried out a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre. He crossed into the opposing lane and collided head on with the oncoming Jaguar.”

The report added that Hamilton wouldn’t have had a sufficient view of the road ahead to be able to carry out the manoeuvre safely.

“The accused must take full responsibility for causing this crash,” the report added.

Mr Coppolaro, 85, died at Wishaw General Hospital the following day and Mrs Coppolaro, 83, died of complications of multiple traumatic injuries on August 15.

“They were very generous people, especially with their time, and always willing to help their family in whatever way they could. They loved spending time with their family both locally and in Italy,” Gennaro added.

“They integrated very well in the local community in St Ives and have been regular church goes for several decades.”

The family thanked those who helped them in the moments after the collision.

Senior coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, David Heming, concluded that the couple died as a result of a road traffic collision, adding there was no way the family could have avoided the incident.

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