Lancashire

Driver who killed woman denies mistaking accelerator for brake

Ann Diggles Image copyright PA
Image caption Ann Diggles told Preston Crown Court that her car would not stop before hitting a pedestrian

A driver whose car surged forward and killed a pedestrian has insisted she did not mistake her accelerator for the brake.

Ann Diggles was trying to park her Nissan Qashqai when it hit Julie Dean, 53, in Leyland, Lancashire, in 2014.

The 82-year-old denies causing death by dangerous or careless driving and claims a vehicle fault was to blame.

She told Preston Crown Court: "There is quite a gap between the two pedals. There is no way of mistaking them."

'Lengthy driving career'

Lawyers for the retired nurse said a malfunction in the automatic car's electronic throttle caused by an undercharged battery led to the vehicle surging forward of its own accord in an "uncommanded acceleration".

Prosecutors claimed Mrs Diggles mistakenly pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake.

Prosecutor Richard Archer said: "You cannot come to terms with the fact that, after a lengthy driving career, you made such a fundamental mistake."

She responded: "If I thought I could have made this mistake, I would have said so and not put myself through nearly three years of waiting."

Earlier, she told her barrister Alistair Macdonald QC, that she knew her car "like the back of my hand" and the pedals of the brake and accelerator felt "totally different".

Brake 'not working'

The crash happened as Mrs Dean stepped out of a charity shop.

Mrs Diggles, who was attempting to park, said: "I went into drive and I put my foot very gently on the accelerator to cross the road and then the car just took off. It surged forward.

"I can remember taking my foot off the accelerator quickly and I'm sure it went on to the brake and the brake didn't appear to be working.

"Then I saw this lady. I think she had her back to me and it just wouldn't stop before I got to her."

The trial continues.

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