A man found guilty of causing a pensioner’s death by careless driving walked free from court after being given a community order.
John Wilby, 54, was travelling at a minimum of 35mph in a 30mph zone before he hit 86-year-old Ronald Owen, who was crossing a road on his mobility scooter.
The pensioner died from head injuries following the incident on Sharp Lane, between Belle Isle and Robin Hood, on July 2 last year.
Sentencing him to a 12-month community order with a 20-week curfew, and a 12-month driving ban, Deputy District Judge Joanne Hirst told Wilby he had escaped a prison sentence “by the skin of his teeth”.
But she said Mr Owen’s inattention had contributed to the collison, adding: “The accident was unavoidable, even if you had been driving under the legal speed limit.”
Wilby, of Windmill Road in Belle Isle, Leeds, had denied the offence, but was found guilty after a one-day trial at the magistrates’ court.
The trial heard Mr Owen left the pavement in a traffic calming area that jutted into the road, and was partially obscured by bollards.
Wilby, who was driving a Renault Scenic, said he had been further obscured by another car. But the court heard Wilby had a good enough view to have seen Mr Owen before the crash.
Rachel Cooper, mitigating, appealed for leniency, saying Wilby was the only driver in his family and had a grown-up son with severe learning difficulties.
She added: “Every night when he closes his eyes he is reliving the accident.”
Wilby told the court he had stopped at the scene to help Mr Owen. He said: “I checked his airways were clear, I phoned an ambulance and got people to help as well. I did everything humanly possible.”
Mr Owen, a former Post Office worker, had been a member of the Salvation Army and had raised more than £10,000 for charity, the court heard.
Deputy District Judge Hirst said: “It’s hard to imagine a more upstanding member of the community.”