Driver did not cause death
A LORRY driver who stopped to ask for directions and then reversed over an elderly woman has been cleared of causing her death. Winifred Ritchie, who was known as Bobby, was just 50 yards from her home when she was run over by a seven-and-a-half tonne bla
A LORRY driver who stopped to ask for directions and then reversed over an elderly woman has been cleared of causing her death.
Winifred Ritchie, who was known as Bobby, was just 50 yards from her home when she was run over by a seven-and-a-half tonne black Mercedes Lynx lorry.
The 87-year-old who lived with her husband in Mill Common, Huntingdon, was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital but later died from multiple injuries.
Gregory Pickford, the 33-year-old lorry driver, was last week cleared of causing death by dangerous driving, but could still face further charges.
The self-employed driver had been delivering security cameras on March 13, 2006, when he needed to stop and ask for directions.
On Thursday, Peterborough Crown Court heard how Mr Pickford, of Compton Way, Earls Barton, Northants, had called at the home of Catherine Evan's in Mill Common seeking help.
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Mrs Ritchie's husband William, who was walking home with his wife from a shopping trip in Huntingdon, was also beckoned over to the lorry to try to assist.
But the court was told it was when Mr Pickford returned to his lorry and started reversing "at a snail's pace" down the single track lane that the accident occurred.
Mrs Ritchie, who had carried on walking without her husband, was said to have been in Mr Pickford's blind spot when the lorry ran her over.
Mr Pickford told police in an interview that he had seen Mrs Ritchie behind the lorry but lost sight of her in his blind spot.
"I knew roughly in my head where she was," he said. "I had given her enough time and space and expected her to step to the side or into a driveway. The next thing I knew she appeared from underneath the front of the lorry."
Giving evidence in court Mrs Evans said that after the accident she had seen Mr Pickford "looking forlorn, lost and absolutely shattered by what had happened."
The court was told that the lorry's reversing beeping alert was in working order and Mrs Ritchie, who was slightly deaf, was not wearing a hearing aid.
In offering his sincerest regrets to Mr Ritchie, Judge Nicholas Coleman said: "I am quite satisfied that the defendant did not drive dangerously on that day. This was a tragic accident. Sadly, and to the defendant's eternal regret, Mrs Ritchie was killed."
Mr Pickford may face further proceedings before magistrates at Huntingdon at a later date on the lesser charge of careless driving.