A CARELESS lorry driver who caused the death of a wheelchair-bound homeless man in Greenock has been spared prison after a sheriff was told of his 'deep and genuine remorse'.

Michael Havlin had a 'momentary lapse in concentration' which saw him drive through a red light and crash his HGV into helpless William McIntyre on a pedestrian crossing outside the Inverclyde Centre on the A8 in Dalrymple Street.

Havlin, 54 — whom the court heard continues to be tormented by the accident — has been given an unpaid work order as an alternative to custody as well as a driving disqualification which has resulted in his 30 years of employment being terminated.

He moved forward in his HGV as traffic moved in front of him and failed to notice that the light was no longer green, instantly dragging Mr McIntyre, 41, underneath his cab which led to fatal crush injuries on November 1 2017.

Defence QC John Scullion said: "Mr Havlin has been deeply affected by Mr McIntyre's death and accepts full responsibility for his lapse in concentration.

"The cognitive behaviour psychotherapist speaks of Mr Havlin's deep remorse, regret and sadness.

"Mr Havlin is particularly distressed by thoughts of what Mr McIntyre experienced and the impact the tragedy has had on his family."

Addressing Sheriff Andrew McIntyre, Mr Scullion said: "Your Lordship is dealing with an individual who will never forget Mr McIntyre's death and it will live with him for the rest of his life."

Havlin — a married father and grandfather — previously had an 'exemplary' driving record and drove in excess of 100,000 miles per year during the course of his employment, the court heard.

A representative of the company he worked for sat in the public gallery with his family as a show of support for him.

Mr Scullion said: "However, because of the the inevitable loss of his licence they can no longer employ him."

Sheriff McIntyre accepted that Havlin's degree of carelessness was low and that his view of the red light was 'obscured by other traffic'.

The victim suffered massive abdominal and pelvic injuries and died later in hospital after a decision had to be taken to withdraw medical treatment.

Sheriff McIntyre said: "This offence had terrible and tragic consequences for a man going about his business and who would have been entitled to feel safe.

"The background report gives a detailed and compelling account of your remorse, and there is no doubt in my mind that this is genuine.

"There is no doubt your driving caused Mr McIntyre's death, but the court must also look at the degree of culpability.

"You were moving slowly and your view of the red light was obscured by other traffic.

"You accept that you ought to have complied and ought not to have proceeded unless you were sure it was green.

"This was not a case of you taking a chance at the lights.

"I accept this was genuinely a momentary lapse in concentration."

Havlin, whose address was not given in court, was ordered to complete 130 hours of unpaid work within nine months, reduced from 200 hours due to his early guilty plea.

He will also be banned from driving for 14 months, reduced from 21 months.