Skip lorry driver who killed woman in Chelmsford banned from driving

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image captionThe court heard Vera Neil was crossing the road between Tesco Express and KFC when she was struck by the skip lorry

A skip lorry driver who struck and killed a woman as she crossed the road has been banned from driving for 18 months.

Lewis Barber, 33, said he did not see 89-year-old Vera Neil as he turned from one road into another in Chelmsford, Essex, on 19 June 2019.

He got out of his vehicle and called 999 for Ms Neil, who was airlifted to hospital but died on 26 July.

Barber admitted causing death by careless driving.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Ms Neil was crossing the road at the junction of Pentland Avenue with Broomfield Parade on a journey to the shops, which she made "a couple of times a day".

Prosecuting, Mark Halsey described Ms Neil as "sprightly and not frail in any way", despite walking with a stick.

Mr Halsey said if Barber had leaned forward in the lorry's cab, "he would have had a full view" of Ms Neil.

"She would have been in view for four seconds," he said.

'A second of inattention'

The court was told there was no suggestion Barber was driving at an excessive speed or using a mobile phone.

Judge David Turner QC said: "The criminality here is maybe in essence a second or two of inattention behind the wheel, but a second or two with massive consequences."

The court heard Barber, of Ongar Road, Stondon Massey, Essex, was remorseful and had struggled with his mental health since the incident.

He was sentenced to an 18-month community order with a mental health treatment requirement and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard that Barber was convicted in December of a drug-driving offence which happened in June 2020, and was banned from driving for 12 months.

His 18-month disqualification period will overlap the existing 12-month ban for the drug-driving incident.

He must complete an extended retest if he is to reapply for a driving licence afterwards.

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