Judge calls for 'urgent review' on elderly drivers after 80-year-old injures eight in dangerous driving charge

A judge has called on the government to "urgently review" the law on elderly drivers, after an 80-year-old was charged with dangerous driving after injuring eight schoolgirls.

Former Nurse of the Year Norma Stokes pleaded guilty to five counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after she mowed down five of the girls, leaving one with brain damage.

At the sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court, Stokes was spared prison by Judge David Aubrey QC, who said the case illustrates the need for an urgent government review of "the manner in which the elderly can or should be permitted to continue driving and hold a UK driving licence".

The court heard how Stokes had been to the doctor for steroid injections in her arthritic knees before the accident.

On the day of the accident, Stokes said she felt "intimidated" after the car behind her drove close and a horn sounded.

Feeling "flustered" and "panicked", Stokes put her foot on the accelerator instead of the brake.

She hit a bollard, mounted the kerb behind three stationary coaches, driving along the pavement between the coaches and the school railings before hitting the eight schoolgirls.

Witnesses described the scene as similar to something out of a disaster film.

Stokes, a former operating theatre sister, was given a suspended two-year jail term.

The judge cited the words of an 11-year-old victim of the accident, who wrote of Stokes: "You never set out to do it on purpose. You were sorry for it and you had handed in your licence."

Rachel Oakdene, defending, said Stokes asked for prayers at her church for the girls she injured, and feels "absolute horror and sorrow for what has happened."

"The irony perhaps is that this defendant is a lady who has spent her life caring for others," Ms Oakdene said.

"She will live with the knowledge and consequences her actions caused for the rest of her life."