Crash survivor blows up tourist ‘secret extradition’ killing five people

A woman who suffered life-altering injuries in a crash that killed five people has denounced the “secret extradition” of the driver responsible to Italy.

Morag Smith, 44, was returning home from line dancing with partner Evalyn Collie and two friends – Ted Reid and Audrey Appleby – when her vehicle was struck by Italian tourist Alfredo Ciociola after his rented Fiat minibus veered off the wrong side of the road. A96 near Keith.

Ms Collie, 69, died in the crash, along with other passengers on the Nissan X-Trail Ms Smith, Ted Reid, 63, and Audrey Appleby, 70.

Ms Smith – from Aberchirder, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire – survived the crash but suffered several open fractures throughout her body

Two people in Ciociola’s rented Fiat minibus also died in a crash that occurred on the A96 between Huntly and Keith in July 2018.

Evalyn Collie, Edward Reid, Frances Lilina and Audrey Appleby died in the crash.Scottish Police

Ciociola’s four-year-old son, Lorenzo, and fellow passenger Frances Lilina, 63, were also victims.

The Italian was jailed for three years in December 2022 after being previously found guilty of causing death by reckless driving.

Ms Smith, speaking publicly for the first time since the 2018 crash, said she had just received a letter from the Scottish Prison Service about Ciociola’s “secret extradition”.

In a statement issued by her attorney, Ms Smith said: “In the last five years I have remained silent and trusted the justice system to deliver but it has not.

“In early June, I got an FYI letter from the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) regarding the secret extradition of Ciociola, and that’s what made me feel compelled to speak up, because the SPS didn’t make this deal, the Crown did, so the Crown has to justify it.

It is understood Ciociola’s extradition to his home country was a condition set by Italian authorities when he was sent to Scotland for trial.

But Ms Smith said: “Every victim deserves to know they mattered and the fairest way to do that is to ensure those responsible are punished fairly, accidents happened here so Ciociola should serve his sentence here.”

Alfredo Ciocola.Scottish Police

He questioned: “What stopped the Italian authorities from granting Ciociola early release because he was on his native soil?

“Will Scottish officials actually go there and check he’s locked up until November 7th when I’m told he’s going to be released?”

He added: “I know Ciociola suffered his own loss but he is responsible for five deaths and it is not much to wish he had spent time in a Scottish cell before seeing his loved ones – because I will never see my loved ones again. ”

Speaking of those who died, Ms Smith said: “Evalyn was my whole world.

“He died three days away from our eight year anniversary. Ted is like a father to me too.”

He continued: “The accident caused physical and emotional pain like I have never felt before and now it feels like all authorities have stopped caring about the victim and the impact of their decision.”

The accident left Ms Smith with multiple open fractures in both arms, a laceration to her left leg, a damaged right kneecap, multiple vertebral disc fractures and a gash in the abdomen.

The gearshift wound on Morag Smith's wrist.Digby Brown

She underwent emergency surgery that lasted 11 hours at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI), and has not been able to return to her job as a flight attendant on North Sea drilling rigs since then.

After surgery, his sister Laura Kewley informed him that she was the only person in her car who had survived the crash.

Ms Kewley, 37, recalls: “There was just tears and disbelief, here was Morag, completely immobile, wrapped in bandages and hooked to a machine, and I had to tell him everyone was dead. That’s so bad.

While visiting his older sister in hospital, he said he saw Ciociola there “with a wound on his leg, laughing with everyone else as if nothing had happened”.

He said: “It boils my blood.

“And I know it was him because the police told us an Italian tourist was involved and he was the only Italian around.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office and the Prosecutor’s Fiscal Service said: “It is true that Alfredo Ciociola has been transferred to serve the remainder of his sentence in Italy.

“These are the conditions imposed on his extradition from Italy by the Italian Courts applying Italian law.”

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