Wallsend gran lost both legs after being dragged under bus when driver refused fare

Joan Scott, 83, needed to have both legs amputated after being dragged under a bus driven by Scott Cliff. Credit: Northumbria Police

A bus driver has been jailed after a grandma required a double-leg amputation when she was dragged under his vehicle.

Scott Cliff was driving a double-decker through Battle Hill Drive in Wallsend, Newcastle, on 19 September 2021 when he stopped to let on Joan Scott, who was 83 at the time.

However, Cliff mistakenly believed Ms Scott had previously tried to ride the bus without paying, so closed the doors and drove off.

He did not realise her walking stick was trapped in the door, causing her to be dragged under the bus tyres and causing catastrophic leg injuries.

The grandmother-of-three, now 85, needed to have one leg amputated at the scene while the other was removed in hospital a few hours later.

Bus driver Scott Cliff was jailed. Credit: Northumbria Police

Now, Cliff, of Lindisfarne Road in Hebburn, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Newcastle Crown Court.

After the sentencing, Ms Scott's family said Cliff had taken her independence and hoped his actions would serve as a warning to drivers of other vehicles.

Her son, Brian, said: “I feel that the driver of the bus has, on that day, taken my mother – taken the head of my family in such a shocking way.

“She is trapped in a broken body caused single-handedly by the actions of one person. Mr Cliff held a position to help and protect the vulnerable by providing a place of safety on the bus. But he didn’t do that for my mother and that kills me.

Ms Scott's relatives said Cliff's actions had destroyed their family. Credit: Northumbria Police

“This was so avoidable had Mr Cliff shown more compassion and consideration to my mother. He has destroyed our family – and hope this horrendous incident makes other drivers of all vehicles sit up and take note.”

Her grandson, Jack, added: “My grandma is no longer herself in any way, shape or form. She was such an active lady out and about all day long, and I used to take her for lunch often. We would sit for hours enjoying each other’s company.

“But it’s no longer possible to do that. It would distress her so much to be out of care for even a few hours. It absolutely breaks my heart.”

Police constable Catherine Lloyd, who led the investigation for Northumbria Police, said the case should act as a “harrowing reminder” to all drivers of their responsibilities whilst in control of a vehicle. She also heaped praise on Ms Scott and her family for their strength and cooperation since the collision.

“This is such a devastating outcome for Joan and her family and my thoughts remain with them at this awful time,” PC Lloyd said. “What happened on that evening was absolutely tragic and the consequences irreversible.

“There is no doubt that Cliff’s actions have destroyed more than one life forever, and it should act as a harrowing reminder to everyone as to what can happen if you are behind the wheel of a vehicle and act carelessly, dangerously or without due consideration to others.

“I sincerely hope that Joan and her family can take some comfort knowing that the person responsible has been convicted in court, and I’d like to thank them for the incredible strength and cooperation that they have shown throughout.

“We all have a responsibility to make sure our roads are as safe as they possibly can be, and we will continue to pursue those who endanger the lives of others whilst behind the wheel.”

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