Bus driver sentenced over death of passenger by careless driving

John ChildsImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
John Childs died from a head injury after he fell from a bus in Harlow

A bus driver has been given a community order after admitting causing the death of a passenger by careless driving.

Christopher Balding, 39, pleaded guilty the charge following the death of 73-year-old John Childs in Harlow, Essex in May 2019.

Mr Childs lost his balance and fell through the open door of the bus after Balding failed to apply the handbrake, a court previously heard.

Balding was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge David Turner QC sentenced Balding to an 18-month community order with conditions during a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The court previously heard how Mr Childs, who used a walking stick, remonstrated with Balding when the bus did not stop where he was expecting it to due to roadworks in Howard Way in Harlow.

Michael Shaw, prosecuting, said Mr Childs rose from his seat and appeared "not best pleased" the bus had not stopped where he thought it should.

Image caption,
Bus driver Christopher Balding was sentenced at

He said the doors opened and the bus "lurched" forward while Mr Child's was standing in the gangway, prompting the passenger to "topple" out of the door.

The pensioner suffered a brain injury in the incident on 3 May died in hospital nine days later.

Mr Shaw said the handbrake was not applied when the bus stopped. He added the driver's foot came off the brake, causing the bus to move forwards, which prompted Mr Childs to lose his balance.

He added that when the bus moved forward, Balding braked again causing the bus to "jolt to a stop".

Balding told police he did not remember using the handbrake, and suggested his foot may have come off the brake as he turned towards Mr Childs.

As part of the community order, Balding must complete 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement, 200 hours of unpaid work and have his licence endorsed with six points.

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