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Woman accused of seriously injuring pedestrian by “dangerous driving” goes on trial

Rosemary Lane in Whitehaven, where the collision occurred

A WOMAN accused of seriously injuring a pedestrian by driving dangerously down a steep road close in central Whitehaven has gone on trial.

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court this afternoon (MON) saw shocking CCTV footage which captured the moment Ian Lithgow was struck by a Renault Clio S as he walked up Rosemary Lane having been shopping and the vehicle drove downhill.

Mr Lithgow suffered fractures to both legs and underwent hospital surgery following the collision in August, 2017.

The Clio driver, 61-year-old Karen Matthews, of Harbour View, Whitehaven, denies one charge alleging that she caused Mr Lithgow serious injury by dangerous driving.

Opening the case, prosecutor Daniel Travers told jurors a motorist travelling behind the Clio believed it was going “too fast”. That motorist saw Mr Lithgow being “thrown into the air”, and “did not see” any speed loss by the Clio nor brake lights. After the collision, Matthews was said to have told a motorist who had been heading the opposite way: “My brakes didn’t work.”

However, the jury heard an examination found “nothing wrong with the brakes”, while evidence suggested Matthews “had been in fifth gear”. Mr Travers said of a police collision investigator: “In his opinion, the most likely cause was Mrs Matthews applying her foot to the accelerator instead of the brake.”

He told jurors: “The issue in this case for you to decide is whether you are sure that Mrs Matthews’ driving was dangerous or not. That decision will require a dispassionate consideration of the evidence.”

He added: “A person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if the standard of driving falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.”

The trial continues.

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