South East Wales

Guilty school crash driver Robert Bell fined £100

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Media captionRobert Bell said he hoped those injured would make a full recovery

A driver found guilty of carelessly driving a car which ploughed into a lollipop lady and five pupils outside a school has been fined £100.

Robert Bell, 62, from Rhoose, lost control of his Audi A3 at Rhws Junior School, Vale of Glamorgan, last June.

He was also given four points on his licence at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on Friday.

District Judge Bodfan Jenkins ordered Bell to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £1,130 costs.

Lollipop lady Karin Williams used her body as a human shield to protect the children.

Judge Jenkins told him: "You were having a coughing fit and you did not deal with it properly as a driver ought to.

"You got your foot not where you intended on the brake but put it on the throttle.

"It was a misjudgement at low speed and a loss of control with horrendous consequences.

"This is a tragic case, more for those injured than yourself.

"The tragedy is something you will have to live with through a momentary lapse of concentration and misjudgement."

After hitting a bollard, the car then flipped on to its roof and slid across the road.

Horrified onlookers said they saw pedestrians "cartwheel" through the air - and the bloodied aftermath led Bell to fear he had killed three people.

The court heard there are civil proceedings pending over the crash.

During his trial, Bell claimed he had suffered a coughing fit and denied the charge.

Five children and three other adults were injured when the car overturned at a pedestrian crossing.

Ms Williams, 50, was in hospital for 10 weeks, while one of the injured children was unconscious and on life support for three days.

Image caption Robert Bell's car overturned in the crash outside the school gates

The crash happened on 20 June last year as pupils made their way into school on Fontygary Road at 08:50 BST.

One of those injured, a nine-year-old girl, was treated for serious head injuries and was in intensive care, while four girls and a boy, aged between five and 10, were also hurt.

Bell, who was wearing flip flops at the time, claimed he did not remember what happened immediately before the crash until he came around upside down in his car.

But the prosecution said he was conscious of what happened and had told a paramedic he remembered surging forward after a speed bump.

Witnesses to the crash heard a "horrendous bang" as the car ploughed into the group of screaming parents and children.

But it was lollipop lady Ms Williams who was hailed a hero when she threw herself in front of the car with her lollipop sign to take the full impact of the crash - protecting five children.

The 50-year-old heard a "revving noise" moments before the car ploughed into her.

"I was shouting something to warn the kids and moved in their direction out of instinct," she said.

Ms Williams was left on the front of the car as it carried on sliding.

She spent nearly three months in hospital with broken legs, elbow, shoulder and ribs.

Up to 30 police officers descended on the scene, as well as teams of paramedics and fire crews.

Months after the crash, Ms Williams was honoured with a Pride of Britain award for her bravery.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Karin Williams was helping children cross the road when the car crashed

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