A SALISBURY man has been found guilty of causing the death of a 21-year-old mechanic by careless driving.

Gutmetin Demirdag, 44, was found guilty of causing the death of Mitchell Leigh Gately following a crash on the A342 at Chirton at about 10.20pm on January 2. Salisbury Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday that Demirdag’s Nissan Qashqui, travelling westbound towards Devizes, crossed to the wrong side of the road and collided head on with a Suzuki Swift being driven by Mr Gately in the opposite direction. Mr Gately and his passenger were trapped in the vehicle and had to be cut free by the fire service.

Mr Gately, from Wilcot, near Pewsey, suffered serious injuries and was flown by air ambulance to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he died two days later, on January 4. His passenger suffered minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene.

Demirdag was taken to Salisbury District Hospital, also with minor injuries.

Francisca Da Costa, defending, said Demirdag had “some sort of black out” which caused him to lose control and swerve into the wrong lane, but there was no medical evidence to prove this.

Lynne Henderson, prosecuting, said investigations revealed it was likely Mr Gately wouldn’t have realised that Demirdag’s car was travelling directly towards him until it was about 20 metres away. “There was no time to avoid the collision,” she said.

The court heard the road was straight and open, conditions and visibility were good, and that neither driver was speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Demirdag said he had driven back from Germany overnight from January 1 to 2 but he wasn’t over tired. The court heard Mr Gately, who was born in Salisbury, had been a pupil at Pewsey Vale School before taking a mechanics course at Wiltshire College Salisbury.

He worked at Wayside Garage in Etchilhampton and was planning to marry girlfriend Briony Perry, 21, this year.

He lived with his mother, Karen Roff, stepfather James, brother Jolyon and sister Bliss. Ms Henderson said: “Mrs Roff said she still feels numb at having lost Mitchell and it’s still very raw. She’s always expecting him to walk through the door and she can’t concentrate on things like she used to and it has affected her memory. It has ripped the family unit apart.”

Demirdag was given a community order with a six-month curfew requirement, ordered to pay £300 costs and disqualified from driving for 18 months.