Lorry driver Alan Cole guilty of causing woman's death

Terry O'Regan (r) 72, died in bin lorry accident Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Terry O'Regan (r) died when Alan Cole's bin lorry ran over her when she was out walking her dogs

A bin lorry driver from Cheltenham has been found guilty of causing the death of a 72-year-old woman by careless driving.

Terry O'Regan was run over as she walked her two dogs along a narrow road in Norton on 24 November 2014.

Alan Cole told Gloucester Crown Court he was reversing his lorry when he he felt a "bump bump" and looked out to see a woman's body on the road.

Cole has been released on bail and will be sentenced on 23 June.

'Broken headphones'

The 58-year-old also told the jury he had reversed down the road 30 times before in his 26-tonne refuse truck.

Once he discovered the body he called the emergency services.

The court heard Mrs O'Regan liked to listen to the radio using headphones as she walked the dogs.

It is not known if that was the case at the time of her death, although her broken headphones were found nearby.

The driver told the jury the road was too narrow to use a banksman or reversing assistant, and the verges were too soft for one to walk on.

A banksman or reversing assistant is someone who can direct a large vehicle when it is performing manoeuvres such as reversing in tight, enclosed or busy places.

Cole said he felt let down by his employers Tewkesbury Borough Council, who advised that a reversing assistant should not be used.

An HSE report said a proper site inspection was needed at the road but had not been carried out by Tewkesbury Borough Council.

The police told the court it was likely Mrs O'Regan was listening to her radio and that Cole failed to see her or her dogs.

They added failure to use a banksman was a contributory factor as there was sufficient room for one on the side of the tarmac road.

Passing sentence, Judge Michael Harrington said despite the "ghastly consequences" of what happened, the accident was "clearly not only" Cole's fault.

Image caption The accident happened in the village of Norton in November 2014

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