Northampton

Darren Sanders cleared of causing deaths of elderly couple

Old Bailey, London Image copyright Getty Images

A partially-sighted lorry driver has been cleared of killing an elderly couple after his vehicle hit them at 12mph (19km/h).

George and Vera Maskell were in the path of Darren Sanders' lorry in a cul-de-sac in south-west London.

The Old Bailey heard they "seemed uncertain what to do".

Sanders, 44, of Wellingborough, was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, but admitted careless driving.

He was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was banned from driving for 19 months.

The court heard the couple were wheeling a shopping trolley back to their car in Sunbury Cross in July.

Fractured skulls

Passers-by heard a "dull thud" when the couple were hit by the lorry, which was coming out of a service road which had a 5mph speed limit.

Both had fractured skulls and Mrs Maskell was trapped under the vehicle's wheels.

Jane Osborne, prosecuting counsel, said: "They seemed uncertain what to do and in the event did not move.

"Mr Maskell held onto his wife's arm as if he was trying to move her from the path of the vehicle.

"If he [Sanders] had seen the pedestrians he would not have hit them because his braking time would have been such that he would have stopped before."

The court heard Sanders told police "they just stepped out in front of me" and he had not seen them.

The trial heard he was blind in one eye, but had a valid driver's licence.

He had had flashbacks and sleepless nights since the accident.

Sentencing him, the Common Serjeant of London, Richard Marks QC, said: "The real cause of this accident was not in reality the speed or your failure to observe the Give Way sign but the fact you simply did not see them in front of you."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites