Swanage car fall driver admits killing man

Shore Road, Swanage Image copyright Liam Coleman
Image caption The man was struck by the car on the promenade on Shore Road

A driver who fell out of her moving car, which killed a man, has admitted causing death by careless driving.

Gillian Richings' empty Vauxhall Zafira hit David Harris, 70, as it careered over the promenade and on to the beach at Swanage, Dorset, in April.

Police said Richings, 68, had removed her seatbelt and opened her door while reversing into a parking space when the door clipped a lamp post and she fell.

She was banned from driving and ordered to do 120 hours of community service.

The crash happened on the promenade on Shore Road near the Mowlem Theatre at about 08:40 BST on Monday 2 April.

Dorset Police said Richings' automatic car had been in reverse gear when the door flew wide open and she fell out.

The car continued towards the beach, hitting Mr Harris and landing on top of him. He died at the scene.

Richings suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital as a precaution but was later discharged.

Image caption The car was recovered shortly before 14:45 the same day

Appearing at Poole Magistrates Court on Friday, Richings, of Victoria Avenue, Swanage, was banned from driving for 12 months and told she must take an extended test to regain her licence.

She must complete 120 hours of community service within 12 months and was also ordered to pay a fine of £150 and an £85 victim surcharge.

Insp Joe Pardey, of Dorset Police's traffic unit, said: "This was an incredibly tragic incident with a very unique set of circumstances and my thoughts remain with the victim's family.

"Gillian Richings' actions were careless and a serious misjudgement that resulted in the most terrible consequences by not putting her car into neutral and turning off her engine before checking its position in the road."

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