A TOP lawyer lost his wife and daughter in a horrific smash on the A9.
Andrew Houston, 42, and another daughter, Lily, are seriously ill in hospital following the two-car crash in the Highlands on Tuesday evening.
Mr Houston’s wife, Abigail, 42, and daughter Mia, seven, were killed when their car collided with another vehicle believed to be driven by a German tourists.
The driver of the other car was killed in the collision, which happened between Newtonmore and Kingussie.
Mr Houston, from Edinburgh, and his surviving daughter are being treated in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, where they are said to be in a “serious but stable” condition.
Mr Houston is a solicitor advocate at McSporrans Defence Lawyers in Edinburgh and is believed to have been on a working holiday.
Three ambulances, four fire crews and a helicopter were all called to the scene just south of Ralia.
Police Scotland’s road policing unit closed the main road south to Perth from Inverness for several hours while investigations were carried out.
Neighbours in the Trinity area of the Edinburgh yesterday (Thu) spoke of their disbelief after learning about the fatal smash.
One described them as a “perfect family” and said: “It is absolutely awful, we are all in shock. It is just so sad. I don’t think people can quite realise what has happened. The whole of Wardie Avenue is in shock.”
Another added that it was “even more tragic” that it involved the children at the start of the school holidays.
He said: “You wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone but they are such a nice family. It makes it even worse that the wee girls were involved.”
“It’s an absolute tragedy obviously,” said another neighbour.
“It really could not have happened to a nicer family. My thoughts are with Andy at this awful time.”
“There are just no words to describe this awful, awful situation.
She was a terrific mum, so patient and kind. Its just unbelievably awful and unfair.”
An elderly neighbour added: “We’re a fairly friendly street and were devastated when we found out. I think everyone is still in shock really.”
Aleem Farooqi, a local newsagent, said he met the couple before they had children 12 years ago when they moved to the Trinity area.
He said: “They’re more like friends than customers now to be honest and I was just so shocked when I found out what happened. The perfect family has been destroyed.
“You don’t expect something like that to happen to people you know. Poor Andrew and Abigail.”
“Abigail was such a nice friendly person and you could tell they were both good parents by how lovely the girls were. “
“Mia looked more like her Mum, a little broader in her face but she has this beautiful gold curly hair whereas Lily was more like her Dad.”
Campaigners have been battling to turn the A9 into a dual carriageway for its entire length between Perth and Inverness after several fatal crashes there.
Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart sent his condolences to the families involved in the incident.
He said: “Once more, families have been left grieving as a result of a collision on this route, which many describe as te route which is the backbone of Scotland’s rail network.
“This is not a time for political point scoring , and I acknowledge the additional measures and improvements that Transport Scotland have undertaken, but for me dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness is the answer and waiting 12 years for this to happen is just too long.
“The timeline for this works needs to be reduced dramatically.”
McSporrans Defence Lawyers, where Mr Houston is a senior partner, said no one was available for comment.
Police Scotland said the circumstances around the crash were still being investigated.