Sudbury woman did not see pensioner crossing road when she knocked her down and killed her, court told

Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001
Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001

A woman cannot explain how she failed to see a pensioner crossing a road who suffered fatal injuries when she was ran down, a court has heard.

Tracey Wright, 50, of Cross Street, Sudbury, had been on her way to pick up one of her three children when the incident occurred on the evening of March 21 last year.

Today (Thursday) Ipswich Crown Court heard how Wright had not seen 75-year-old Christine Ward as she was crossing Head Lane, Great Cornard, after getting off a coach returning her with friends and neighbours from a holiday in Devon.

Mrs Ward, who was pushing her suitcase on the wheeled walker she used to assist her, had almost completed the crossing when she was struck by Wright’s Honda Jazz car and landed on the pavement.

Prosecuting, Matthew Sorel-Cameron said the road had street lights which were on and offered good visibility because it was straight.

Mrs Ward, described by friends as an “independent lady”, would have been crossing the road slowly but steadily.

Wright, who had been driving with her nine-year-old son as a front seat passenger, immediately got out and screamed for help. Other people who had been on the coach came to offer assistance but Mrs Ward was declared dead at the scene.

Mr Sorel-Cameron said a police accident investigation had concluded that Wright was travelling at about 23mph when the impact with Mrs Ward took place. There were no signs to indicate emergency braking.

Wright, a learning support assistant at a local school, told people at the scene: “I didn’t see her”, said Mr Sorel-Cameron.

Members of Mrs Ward’s family were in court to hear a statement from her son Nigel Ward in which he said his mother had many friends, was very active working for her church and charities.

Mr Ward said: “My mother was a very outgoing person who was really enjoying her life.”

Teresa Lancaster, Mrs Ward’s eldest daughter, said in a statement that her mother, who had four children and eight grandchildren, had previously run a play scheme in Great Cornard, been a foster parent, helped run Guide and Brownie groups and been president of her local Women’s Institute branch.

Defending, Kate Chidgey said Wright, who had no previous motoring offences recorded against her, had expressed genuine remorse for Mrs Ward’s death and having not seen her crossing the road.

Mrs Chidgey said: “She is today still unable to offer an explanation as to how that was.”

Wright, who pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, was sentenced by Judge John Devaux to a 12 month Community Order with a requirement to complete 120 hours of unpaid community work.

Judge Devaux told Wright: “It is hard to know why you did not see her before colliding with her. This is a case of careless driving not from momentary loss of attention but a few moments attention.”

Wright was disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay £1,000 prosecution costs.