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Man found not guilty of danger driving following Lakes crash

Anthony Lonton outside Carlisle Crown Court

A PENSIONER has been found not guilty of causing serious injury to two women by dangerous driving following a Lakes car crash.

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court heard about the “dreadful consequences” of a head-on, two-vehicle collision on the A591 at Thirlmere in July, 2015.

Anthony Lonton, 78, was driving a Kia Cee’d which veered into the path of an oncoming Seat Altea. His passenger and friend, Sybil Parker, suffered a “catalogue” of injuries and was detained in hospital for two months, while 38 weeks’ pregnant Seat passenger Mrs Rebecca Pattinson lost the baby daughter she was carrying.

Experts concluded the most plausible cause of the crash was Mr Lonton falling asleep at the wheel. He accepted he must have done, “momentarily, for a micro-second”. But in evidence he “very strongly” disagreed with the prosecution’s accusation that he drove that day despite knowing he was too tired to do so safely.

An active and healthy man of good character, Mr Lonton, of Carriage Drive, Windermere, denied two charges alleging that he caused serious injury to the two females by dangerous driving.

This afternoon (THURS), a jury of six men and six women found him not guilty of both allegations having heard all evidence in the case.

In response, Judge James Adkin said: “Thank you, Mr Lonton, you may leave the court.”

Judge Adkin took time to thank members of the jury for their work on what he said was a “difficult case”.

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