Lorry driver cleared of causing death of pensioner

Dudley Howe. Photo: Courtesy the family/Norfolk Police

Dudley Howe. Photo: Courtesy the family/Norfolk Police - Credit: Archant

A lorry driver wept in the dock after he was cleared of causing the death by careless driving of an elderly pensioner who crossed the road in front of his vehicle.

Dudley Howe, 82, died after being struck by the lorry while crossing Station Road, Attleborough, on Friday, October 6, 2017, on his way back from getting the flu jab at his doctor's surgery.

Simon Rayner, 52, of Abbot Road, Norwich, had denied causing death by careless driving and a jury of six men and six women at Norwich Crown Court took around 90 minutes to find him not guilty.

They also sent a note to the judge recommending that the laws be toughened up on the use of mirrors by lorry drivers.

The note asked that lorry drivers should ensure they have mirrors fitted to show a view of the whole front of the cab and make it a criminal offence not to do so.

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Judge Anthony Bate said that he would pass on the recommendation to the Norfolk area coroner as he said the inquest into the death of Mr Howe had been adjourned pending the trial.

Judge Bate said the case was "very sad".

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As Mr Rayner left the court, he said he wanted to make no further comment and was greeted with hugs from his friends who supported him during the trial.

Mr Howe's widow was also in court to hear the verdict.

During the trial, the jury heard that Mr Howe was walking across the road with his wheeled walker when he was struck by a DAF articulated lorry driven by Mr Rayner, who had been held up in a traffic queue at the level crossing in the town.

The trial heard Mr Howe had started to walk in front of the stationary lorry and stopped in front of Mr Rayner's cab when the barriers went up and traffic started.

The accident was caught on dashcam footage from other drivers.

Giving evidence, Mr Rayner said he had checked his mirrors before the collision and said he had been driving HGVs since 1990.

Mr Rayner also said he checked his mirrors before moving off, believing it was safe to do so. He said that as a professional driver he checked his mirrors thousands of times a day.

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