Carer drove into grandmother in tragic Asda car park accident, court hears

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A carer fatally knocked down a 100-year-old grandmother in an Asda car park after “accidentally pressing the accelerator” of a van while driving a paralysed man to buy flowers for a date, a court heard.

Cherise Lyons, 57, denies causing the death of Joan Roskilly by dangerous driving and is on trial at Basildon Crown Court.

Patrick Dennis, prosecuting, said Lyons was driving a Renault Trafic van belonging to Reece Clarke, who had been paralysed in a previous unrelated traffic incident.

Describing the case as “tragic”, he said Lyons had stopped the van by bollards outside an Asda store in Shoebury, Essex so fellow carer Sophie Bodimede, who was in the front passenger seat, could get out to buy flowers for Mr Clarke to give to his date.

Mr Dennis said Lyons got out to look for where the petrol cap was, and at that point Mrs Roskilly and her friend Gabrielle Thomas were walking past the bollards.

He told jurors that as Lyons got back into the van and the door was closing, it accelerated forward.

“The vehicle accelerated forward knocking down the bollards,” said Mr Dennis. “It entered the pedestrian area where it knocked down Joan Roskilly and Mrs Thomas.

“It narrowly avoided colliding with the store by veering to the right.”

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”, Mr Dennis said.

“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.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the adapted van, with Mr Clarke still in his wheelchair in the rear, crashing through bollards outside the supermarket.

Ms Bodimede said she had been leaning into the van to give Mr Clarke the flowers she had bought when she “heard the driver door open and the car had jolted forward”.

Mrs Thomas said she was walking with Mrs Roskilly towards the trolley area at the front of the store when she heard “the sound of a car engine”.

“It appeared to be going very fast,” she said. “I thought the van was going to brake.

“I saw it go through the bollards knocking me and Joan flying.

“Unfortunately, it went over Joan after knocking us onto the pavement.”

She said the area was busy with pedestrians at the time, and she injured her elbow when she was knocked down.

She said she was taken into Asda’s customer restaurant and a police officer told her Mrs Roskilly had died on the way to hospital on the afternoon of November 29, 2016.

Lyons, of Kingsmill Road, Dagenham, appeared tearful in the dock.

She has admitted causing death by careless driving, but denies that it was dangerous driving.

The trial continues.

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