Retired school inspector, 81, killed neighbour while moving car

Retired school inspector, 81, killed one neighbour and injured another when she stepped on accelerator instead of brake while moving her automatic car

  • Judith Pearson killed one neighbour and seriously injured while moving car
  • Retired Ofsted inspector, then 81, stepped on accelerator instead of brake 
  • Her car ploughed into cancer-sufferer Martin Bust and granddad Albert Attfield 
  • Pearson wept as she was given 10 month sentence suspended for 18 months

A retired Ofsted inspector killed one neighbour and seriously injured another when she stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake while moving her automatic car, a court has heard. 

Judith Pearson, then 81, intended to reverse her car into her driveway in Coleorton, near Coalville in November last year when she ploughed into cancer-sufferer Martin Bust and grandfather Albert Attfield.

Mr Attfield, 79, was sweeping up leaves and talking to Mr Bust and his wife when he was run over by Ms Pearson. He was left with multiple fractures and died in hospital with chest injuries and pneumonia.

His neighbour Mr Bust was thrown across the road by the force of the impact and left with serious leg injuries. 

Pearson wept in the dock as she was given a 10 month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £500 costs. Shortly after the incident, she surrendered her driving licence to the DVLA and said she has no intention of driving again.

Sentencing, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said: ‘The case shows how powerful motor cars are and that even at relatively modest speeds the impact cars can have is immense.’ 

Judith Pearson, then 81, intended to reverse her car into her driveway in Coleorton, near Coalville in November last year when she ploughed into cancer-sufferer Martin Bust and grandfather Albert Attfield

He added he accepted that Pearson was clearly remorseful and would have to live with the knowledge of what she had done, which would have a ‘more significant effect’ than any penalty he could impose.

At Leicester Crown Court, Mr Attfield was described as a ‘well liked, respected, generous and compassionate’ man, whose family and his wife Margaret have been left ‘devastated’ by his death. 

His daughter Sarah Riley added her father was a much loved ‘fit and healthy man who had many years ahead of him.’ 

Mr Bust had surgery to repair his leg with metal plates, which interrupted his cancer treatment. He is receiving physiotherapy to help him relearn to walk but fears he never will be able to regain his former mobility, the court heard. 

Prosecuting, Jonathan Dunne said the Crown accepted the defendant did not deliberately drive in that manner.

Pearson wept in the dock as she was given a 10 month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £500 costs 

Kevin Waddingham, mitigating, said Pearson was formerly a teacher, then a head teacher and became an Ofsted inspector, before retiring with ‘exemplary’ career and driving records.

He said: ‘She was performing a routine manoeuvre and the panic took the situation out of her rational control.

‘She can’t explain what happened.’

He described her shock and distress as acute and said: ‘Her first thoughts are for those who were hurt, physically and emotionally, by her actions. She wishes to express her remorse and sorrow – she’s devastated. 

‘It’s the first thing she thinks of when she wakes and the last thing when she goes to sleep.’ 

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