Norfolk driver handed himself in after Christmas Eve death crash

A driver caused the death of a Norfolk grandmother who was walking to a Christmas Eve church service after he reversed his car knocking her down and then drove off unaware of the tragedy.

Julian Smith, of Goose Green, Winfarthing, did not realise he had struck 67 year-old Katherine Aldrige of Pulham St Mary, who later died from her head injuries on Christmas Day. It was only days later after widespread publicity about the hit-and-run that Smith handed himself in to Diss police station, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said Smith maintained to police he was unaware of any collision involving the Nissan people carrier he was driving.

Mr Spence said that Mrs Aldridge who was described as a 'popular community figure' was left lying on North Green Road, in Pulham St Mary and died later in hospital from her head injuries.

Smith, 38 admitted causing the death by careless driving of Mrs Aldridge.

The court heard that Smith, who had previous convictions for driving while disqualified, had expressed his deep remorse and had been suffering from depression and panic attacks after the accident.

Judge Paul Downes imposed a three month jail sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered him to do 150 hours unpaid work. He also banned him from driving for 12 months.

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He told him that no sentence could make up for the loss to the victim's family and said: 'Their loss is something that cannot be healed by anything I do to you.'

He added: 'You inattention had a dreadful result, I am sure you must know that.'

John Farmer, for Smith said: 'This defendant reversed round a corner without keeping a sufficient look out and the upshot was the unfortunate death of this lady.'

He said that Smith was aware of the devastating impact it would have on her family and Smith was now suffering from depression and panic attacks. He said the accident was caused by a momentary inattention. 'He failed to observe the presence of a pedestrian.

Mrs Aldridge leaves a husband, two daughters and a grandchild and after the case the family said they did not want to comment on the sentence.