Mid Wales

Driver spared jail for death of man, 97, in Knighton

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court
Image caption Ian Ross was sentenced at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court

A driver who killed a 97-year-old pensioner as he took his daily walk near his care home has been spared jail.

Grandfather Richard Wood, who built Spitfire fighter planes in World War Two, was crossing a road when he was hit by Ian Ross's car.

Ross, 47, from Knighton, Powys, admitted causing death by careless driving.

He was given a six month suspended sentence at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

Judge Neil Bidder QC said: "Mr Wood was a remarkable man - he was loved by his family who were hoping he would reach his 100th birthday.

"No sentence I impose can take away the pain that you have caused."

Father-of-three Ross had his sentence suspended because he cares for his 78-year-old mother, who has dementia.

The court was told he had been been driving under the 30mph speed limit when he was "blinded" by the glare from the sun reflected off the wet road in Knighton.

Judge Bidder told him: "You continued to drive at 27mph which was not a safe speed because of the glare.

"Mr Wood was capable of being seen about eight seconds before the collision - which is a considerable time."

'Highly respected'

The court heard "highly respected" Ross, who runs a rally driving experience company, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident and was still receiving counselling.

The judge said: "There is strong mitigation and your immediate imprisonment will result in a significant harmful impact to your mother."

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for two years.

Mr Wood's family said he was a well-known figure and would wave and chat to people during his "daily constitutional" walk.

He moved to the town in the early 1970s and was a keen photographer and painter of the surrounding countryside.

A family spokesman said: "Renowned for his cheery, gentlemanly and optimistic nature, he will be sadly missed by his family, friends and the many people in the community who knew him."

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