Dagenham carer who killed woman, 100, in car park ‘thought she was pressing brake’, court hears
- Credit: PA
A carer from Dagenham accidentally ploughed a van through bollards outside a supermarket and into a 100-year-old grandmother while it was in automatic mode, a court heard.
Joan Roskilly, who was shopping with a friend, died while on her way to hospital after suffering leg and pelvis injuries outside the Asda store in Shoeburyness, Essex.
Cherise Lyons, 57, told Basildon Crown Court yesterday that she had driven the Renault Trafic van, which belonged to a disabled client, around 10 times before.
She admits causing the death of Mrs Roskilly by careless driving, but denies causing her death by dangerous driving.
The van belonged to Reece Clarke, who was paralysed in a previous unrelated traffic incident, and Lyons was driving him on a date.
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She had stopped at Asda so her colleague Sophie Bodimede could buy flowers for Mr Clarke to give to his date.
Lyons said she did not park in a designated parking spot, and got out of the van to check where the fuel cap was.
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Mr Clarke was in a wheelchair in the back of the adapted van, and Ms Bodimede had returned from Asda with the flowers.
Lyons said she got back into the driver’s side and turned to say something to her colleague or Mr Clarke.
“As I turned back the car was rolling,” she told jurors. “Then I said ‘the car’s rolling’ and panicked a bit.”
She said she thought she put her foot on the brake and “thought oh my god I’m going to hit those people”.
“I thought I was on the brake all the time but I obviously wasn’t,” said Lyons. “I just wanted to stop the car.”
Lyons, of Kingsmill Road, said she had steered the car to avoid hitting the shopfront.
The defendant, who is 5ft 2ins tall, said she was wearing Ugg boots and had driven to Mr Clarke’s house in her manual Ford Fiesta before driving his van.
She said she “didn’t feel uncomfortable” to drive the vehicle, and had not heard a warning noise before the crash.
Prosecutor Patrick Dennis said a police crash investigator concluded that when Lyons got out of the vehicle “she must have left the engine running with the vehicle in gear”.
“She’s accidentally pressed the accelerator and that’s overridden the handbrake and caused the vehicle to move forward and the bollards to be flattened,” he said.
Mrs Roskilly died on the way to hospital on the afternoon of November 29, 2016.
The trial continues.