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Driver jailed for causing death of elderly pedestrian in Penrith

king street penrith[A] SPEEDING motorist who caused the death of an elderly pedestrian in a Cumbrian town centre has been sent to prison.

Carlisle Crown Court heard 82-year-old Lawrence Cherry was thrown up to 10ft in the air after being struck by a Volkswagen Golf in darkness at a pelican crossing in Penrith.

The car was driven by 23-year-old Peter Wilkinson who, the court heard, was travelling at 30mph – 10mph over the town centre limit in December, 2015. As Mr Cherry – wearing dark clothing – walked over the King Street crossing with the traffic lights on green, he was struck by the Golf.

In dark and rainy conditions, Wilkinson, of Clifton, near Penrith, braked but later admitted he was distracted by other pedestrians and his vehicle’s clock.

The court heard Mr Cherry, who lived in Penrith, suffered “catastrophic” fatal injuries. His death was said to have “devastated” his family.

Wilkinson, a “remorseful” man of good character, admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving, and was sentenced today (THURS).

Judge Peter Hughes QC imposed an immediate 12-month prison sentence, describing the incident as “tragic”. Wilkinson was banned from driving for three years, and must take an extended re-test.

Rebecca McGregor for the CPS said: “This is a tragic case whereby a man lost his life as he walked home after enjoying an evening with friends at his local pub.

“It was the prosecution case that Peter Wilkinson’s driving fell below what is expected of a careful and competent driver.  He drove 10 miles an hour over the speed limit in the town centre on a busy night leading up the Christmas period and failed to react to Mr Cherry’s presence in the road. By his own admissions he also took his eyes of the road briefly to check the time on his dashboard just before the collision.

“I would like to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Mr Cherry, my thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”

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