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Careless driver who caused pensioner's death spared immediate prison sentence

Colin Hodgson Credit: Craig McGlasson

A man whose careless driving caused the death of a pensioner six days after a north Cumbria crash has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Delivery driver Colin Hodgson was travelling south on the A6 between Carlisle and Penrith when his Mercedes Sprinter van pulled into the path of a northbound Volkswagen Golf as he turned right, at Plumpton Foot, on August 9 in 2017.

Ann Miller - a 74-year-old front seat passenger in a Golf driven by her daughter Louise Lovell - was injured and airlifted to hospital in Newcastle where she died on August 15.

An eye witness travelling behind 30-year-old Hodgson described the van driver's manoeuvre as "blind stupidity", concluding a collision was "inevitable".

At the scene immediately after the crash, Hodgson said to Ms Lovell: "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I was looking at my sat-nav."

Carlisle Crown Court heard Hodgson hadn't seen the Golf before impact. A collision expert concluded that although there was some restricted visibility due to the road layout, Hodgson should have seen the Golf for "three-and-a-half to four seconds" prior to the crash.

Hodgson admitted causing the death of Mrs Miller - who lived in Penrith and was originally from Carlisle - by careless driving. He was sentenced today.

Tom Gent, defending, said Hodgson didn't believe he'd been distracted at the time of the crash. "The defendant is extremely sorry for his actions," said Mr Gent. "He is genuinely remorseful for what he did."

After hearing mitigation and submissions on behalf of the dad-of-two, of Englefeld, Leam Lane, Gateshead, Judge Peter Davies suspended a 24-week jail term for two years.

Hodgson must complete 180 hours' unpaid work, a two-month night-time curfew and 18-month driving ban.

Judge Peter Davies said of Mrs Miller: "Everything that I have read and heard about her tells me that he was a devoted family lady. She was a valued member of the community.

She was a loving wife and a loving mother, and she was somebody whose love and affection was valued by all who knew her.

"Nothing that I can say today will make the pain and loss of those who loved her feel any better. Her life was priceless. Her life, unfortunately, is no more."