Asda car park death: Driver Cherise Lyons sentenced
A driver who knocked down and killed a 100-year-old in a supermarket car park after accidentally hitting the accelerator has been given a suspended sentence.
Cherise Lyons, 57, caused Joan Roskilly fatal injuries outside Asda in Shoeburyness, Essex, in November 2016.
Lyons told Basildon Crown Court she wrongly believed she was braking.
She was given an eight-month suspended sentence after admitting causing death by careless driving.
Lyons, who works as a carer and was driving a Renault Trafic belonging to her disabled client, was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
A jury was told she mistakenly pressed the automatic vehicle's accelerator, which over-rode the handbrake and caused it to move forward.
Judge Ian Graham told Lyons: "You didn't act properly in stopping the vehicle, in finding the brake, and I expect you panicked."
The vehicle flattened a bollard near the store front then hit Mrs Roskilly, who died on her way to hospital after suffering leg and pelvic injuries, the court heard.
Lyons, of Kingsmill Road, Dagenham, was driving her client Reece Clarke to buy flowers for a date, and "did not feel uncomfortable" in the vehicle, the court heard.
The jury heard Lyons spoke to someone after getting back into the car, but told the court when she "turned back the car was rolling".
"Then I said 'the car's rolling' and panicked a bit," she said. "I thought I was on the brake all the time but I obviously wasn't. I just wanted to stop the car."
Heidi Carter, a relative of Mrs Roskilly, said in a statement: "We all miss our nan Joan deeply and have been left traumatised by the circumstances in which she was killed."
Lyons' prison sentence was suspended for two years and she was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.