A motorist who killed an 86-year-old pensioner after losing control of his car which had a tyre so bald that the cord was showing through was warned that he faces jail.

Andrew Turner (52) told police he knew that his VW Golf had a tyre that was unroadworthy, but carried on using it.

He lost control of the car due to “inattention” and ploughed into an oncoming Mercedes carrying elderly Geraldine Hodge on the A82 near the Falls of Falloch, by Crianlarich, in west Perthshire.

Last Thursday (6 August) Stirling Sheriff Court was told that the tyre defects did not cause the crash, but had compromised Turner’s attempts to correct his course on the road which was wet from summer rain.

The accident occurred at about 5.15 pm on 2 June 2014, as Turner, a £550-a-week plant operator, was driving home from work.

It was witnessed by a van driver, Andrew Muir, who was travelling behind the Mercedes, which was being driven north by Mrs Hodge’s son Mark Hodge. Her daughter Theresa Hodge was also in the car, in the rear offside passenger seat.

Beverley Adam, prosecuting, said that Mr Muir estimated that Mr Hodge’s vehicle was travelling at about 40mph.

She said: “As the vehicles approached a sweeping bend, he saw the Golf travelling around the corner towards them.

“He saw that the Golf did not follow the line of the corner but crossed onto the wrong side of the carriageway, coming directly into the path of the Mercedes.” Miss Adam said the driver of the Mercedes reacted by moving to the right, crossing the white line in the process, then Turner reacted, and started to swerve back across onto the correct side of the carriageway, leaving the Mercedes nowhere to go.

The vehicles collided near the centre of the road, the Golf “impacting heavily” into the side of the Mercedes.

Mr Muir went to assist, and worried about the possibility of fire, pulled Turner from the wreckage.

Other drivers stopped to help, including a passing nurse and a GP, who checked Mrs Hodge for vital signs.

Miss Adam said: “He was unable to find any, and life was pronounced extinct 17.44 hrs.” Fire fighters and paramedics attended, and an air ambulance was scrambled to the scene.

Mrs Hodge’s body had to be freed from the Mercedes by firemen, because of the extent of the damage.

Miss Adam said the Merc had been “extensively damaged”, and bodywork was protruding into the passenger compartment.

The Golf’s front suspension and one tyre was completely ripped off, and found lying about 20 feet from the point of impact. The tyre was noted to be “devoid of tread” and its cords were exposed.

Turner later told police that he was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the car. He said that about two weeks before the accident he checked the front tyres and saw they had very little tread and ought to be replaced.

Miss Adam said: “He told police he had formed the opinion they were illegal and not roadworthy.

“Police investigated the collision and concluded it was instigated by the accused becoming distracted in the vehicle on a left hand bend, causing it to cross into the other carriageway.

“On seeing this, Mark Hodge took evasive action and crossed into the offside carriageway in an attempt to avoid a head-on collision.

“The accused became aware of his road position and attempting to return to his carriageway by steering to the left.

“He was unable to complete this manoeuvre and the inevitable collision occurred.” She added: “The defective front tyre on the wet road surface would have affected how quickly the Golf reacted to the steering input as the accused attempted to correct his road position, but had no impact on the eventual outcome.” The instrument panel of the Golf showed it had been travelling at 58mph at the time of the crash.

Mr Hodge told police that the accident had happened so fast he didn’t even have time to brake.

Mrs Hodge, of Bournemouth, who was already suffering from the effects of a recent stroke, died from multiple injuries.

Turner was airlifted the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley with a fractured spine.

Theresa Hodge, now 55, suffered a collapsed lung, and a fractured left leg, vertebrae and pelvis, the latter of which injuries was expected to causing “long term issues”. She was also permanently scarred.

Mark Hodge (52) sustained cuts, bruising, and a broken thumb.

Turner, of Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, and using a car with a defective tyre.

He wept openly in the dock as the facts were read out.

Defence solicitor Alan Gravelle said Turner still had flashbacks and nightmares.

He said: “There are no words that will ever be enough to express his remorse and sorrow to this family.

“It was a tragedy that stemmed from a split-second lapse on his part.” Sheriff Wyllie Robertson deferred sentence until 2 September for a social enquiry report.

He said told Turner: “You appreciate that the gravity of this offence brings with it the possibility of a custodial sentence.”