KILLER Gourock driver Lee Docherty has today been jailed for nine years at the High Court for causing the deaths of three men.

Docherty, 38, pleaded guilty to killing David Paton, Manveer Benning and Mark Downie in a high speed 5am crash on the M8 near Langbank in September 2021.

The jail term handed down to Gourock man Docherty will run consecutively to the eight-year sentence he was given earlier this year for flooding Inverclyde with class A drugs.

Greenock man Mr Paton and Mr Benning, of Inverkip, both aged 27, and former Greenock Juniors footballer Mr Downie, 31, were all travelling in an Audi Q7 that Docherty was behind the wheel of.

Docherty fell asleep at the wheel of the hired Audi Q7 on the M8 near Bishopton in Renfrewshire in the early hours of September 19 2021.

Seven of his associates were piled into the powerful 4x4 at the time.

Docherty was jailed for eight years in April at the High Court in Glasgow for heading a drugs gang which operated from a heavily barricaded block of flats in Larkfield known as 'the shop".

Prosecutor Greg Farrell told how Docherty and his vehicle passengers had earlier been at a Glasgow city centre club.

The eight all then went in the Audi - built to hold just seven people - initially to a nearby flat before leaving and eventually travelling on the M8.

Mr Farrell said Docherty went at a "recorded speed of up to 127mph" described as "grossly excessive".

The court heard the Audi drifted into the hard shoulder near junction 31 of the M8 and onto the kerb.

The vehicle soon ended up on an embankment.

Mr Farrell: "The Audi continued the path of travel with no apparent input in the form of braking or steering from the driver."

The 4x4 tumbled down the embankment - knocking down a fence and two trees - before coming to a halt on its roof.

Seven of the eight men in the overloaded Audi were not wearing seat belts.

The three who died were all found lying out side of the vehicle.

Mr Farrell: "The crash investigator indicated that Docherty caused the Audi to drift towards the nearside of the motorway in a manner which indicates he was falling asleep."

The other passengers - Brendan Gillan, Dylan McFadyen, Michael Munro and Brendan Balloch - all needed hospital treatment following the smash.

The court heard Docherty, of Gourock, Inverclyde, was described as being "in shock".

His KC Thomas Ross said: "I have to acknowledge the emotional pain suffered by the bereaved.

"The knowledge that he has caused all of that would weigh heavily upon him even if it were strangers.

"But, these were all close friends. Whatever the sentence, this is a matter that he will have to live with.

"It must also be said that the mother of Mark Downie and the partner of David Paton - in an extraordinary gesture of compassion - bear him no ill will.

"They take the view it would have been the last thing in the world he would have wanted to happen.

"In the circumstances, they are prepared to forgive him."

The court heard - as well as the drugs conviction - Docherty had previously been jailed for attempted murder in 2000.

Lord Clark said the latest prison-term would have been 12 years, but for the guilty plea.

It will only begin at the end of the eight years Docherty got in April.

The judge: "There is no sentence that can begin to alleviate the impact on the family members of the deceased and the others involved."

Docherty was also banned from the road for a total of 14 and a half years.