Trucker Who Knocked Down Elderly Couple Freed By Court

A partially sighted trucker who knocked down and killed an elderly couple has walked free from court.

A partially sighted trucker who knocked down and killed an elderly couple has walked free from court.
 
Darren Sanders, 44, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, admitted causing the deaths of Vera and George Maskell when he ploughed into them at just 12mph on July 16 last year.
 
But he denied causing death by dangerous driving and was cleared by an Old Bailey jury after half a day of deliberations.
 
The Common Serjeant of London, Richard Marks QC, suspended a nine-month jail term for two years for the lesser offence of careless driving and banned Sanders from driving for 18 months.
 
He told Sanders: "You were driving at about 12mph on a service road where the limit would have been 5mph. It is clear to me that the real cause of this accident was not in reality the speed or your failure to observe the Give Way sign but the fact you simply did not see them in front of you. Had you been looking ahead of you and paying attention you should and would have seen them.''
 
He acknowledged that any sentence would seem "wholly inadequate'' to the grieving family of the "much loved'' victims.
 
The judge went on to say it was clear from a statement from the Maskells' daughter Alison that they were an "outstanding'' couple who were "devoted to each other''.
 
The family had been left "devastated'' by the loss of both beloved parents, he said.
 
The court heard how the couple were killed almost immediately after the collision in a cul-de-sac in Sunbury Cross, west London.
 
Prosecutor Jane Osborne told jurors they had been on their way back to their car after a shopping trip, with Mr Maskell wheeling their laden shopping trolley.
 
The incident was caught on CCTV and witnessed by passers-by who saw what happened or heard a "dull thud'' of impact.
 
As they stood in the middle of the road, the Maskells appeared to freeze when they saw Sanders' heavy goods vehicle heading towards them from a service road.
 
Ms Osborne said: "They seemed uncertain what to do and in the event they did not move. Mr Maskell held onto his wife's arm as if he was trying to move her from the path of the vehicle but in reality it was too late for them to move anywhere. They were both struck and pushed some distance from the road.''
 
Members of the public rushed to their aid and put Mr Maskell, 81, into the recovery position, but Mrs Maskell, 80, was trapped beneath the wheels.
 
The driver was heard to say: "They just stepped out in front of me,'' and told police he had not seen them.
 
Investigators found that he was moving at just 12mph and had the couple in view for 2.7 seconds but did not slow down until after he hit them.
 
He had no alcohol in his system and, while blind in one eye, had a valid driver's licence, the court heard.
 
The prosecutor said: "If he had seen the pedestrians he would not have hit them because his breaking time would have been such that he would have stopped before.''
 
The couple both suffered from fractured skulls but were in good health before the crash, the court heard.
 
The court was told how Sanders had suffered from "horrendous'' abuse in his childhood and had brought up his daughter as a single parent.
 
Since the crash, his eyesight had deteriorated and he had lost his job. The court heard he had suffered from sleepless nights and flashbacks since the accident.

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