Liverpool

Kirkby car park death caused by 'wrong foot' on pedal

Christine Smith Image copyright Lynda Roughley
Image caption Christine Smith pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving

A widow knocked down and killed a pedestrian when she pressed the accelerator harder than she intended.

Christine Smith, 66, admitted causing death by dangerous driving when her van ploughed into musician Henry Miller in Kirkby Market car park on 17 July.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Smith, who is disabled, intended only to move her automatic Peugeot Partner van forward by inches but used her "wrong" foot.

She was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.

The court heard how the van shot across the car park crashing into Mr Miller, 63.

Her vehicle then hit a Ford Fiesta with such force that her van tilted on to two wheels.

Smith, who uses a walking aid, crashed through hedges surrounding the car park and "only came to stop in the middle of St Chad's Drive when she managed to turn off the ignition", prosecutor Henry Riding said.

She had been trying to move her van forward a few inches so that she could open the boot.

But she only half sat in the driver's seat and used her left foot instead of her right to make the manoeuvre, the court heard.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Christine Smith was parking in the Kirkby Market car park when she hit Henry Miller

Mr Miller, who had nine grandchildren, was described by his family as a "brilliant" guitarist who taught others to play. He was known to many as "the maestro".

"Losing Henry so suddenly and violently has left a huge void in all our lives," his sister Joan Hatfield said.

Defence barrister Jonathan Duffy said Smith, of Bewley Drive, Kirkby, was of impeccable good character.

She is in poor health with COPD, angina and diabetes in addition to her mobility problems.

The sentence passed "will be less severe for her than the punishment that she will forever endure as a result of guilt, remorse, regret and sorrow", he said.

In addition to handing Smith a suspended prison sentence, Judge Robert Warnock disqualified her from driving for three years, and ordered her to serve a four-month curfew, and imposed a two-year community order.

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