Swanley Woman Found Guilty

A woman has been found guilty of killing a pedestrian after she left the handbrake off her car in Bluewater shopping centre car park.


49-year-old Dawn Chedd, of Cranleigh Drive, Swanley, had parked her automatic Vauxhall Zafira in a bay in Bluewater car park on 4 January.

While the car was still in reverse gear and the handbrake was not set, it reversed from the bay at speed, colliding with three parked vehicles before it ran over Claire Bishop, 71, as she walked through the car park with her husband, pinning her against another car.

Mrs Bishop, of Bexleyheath, suffered serious injuries and died in hospital on 9 January. Chedd, 49, is believed to have stepped on the accelerator for unknown reasons. She was dragged along by the Zafira before it hit a parked car, throwing her to the ground. She suffered minor injuries. The child was unhurt.

Following an investigation by officers from the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit, Chedd was charged with causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

She denied the charge and claimed to have no memory of the accident but was found guilty by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court on 29 May. She is due to be sentenced on 15 July.

Following the verdict, Mrs Bishop's family paid tribute to 'a loving wife, mum and nana'.

A statement released by her family said: 'She is dearly missed by her family and her many friends, who she loved to have around her.'

Investigating officer PC Glen Braidwood, of the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said:

'This was an extremely tragic case in which a number of errors led to an innocent bystander losing her life.
'It underlines the importance of driving with due care and attention at all times - not just when behind the wheel but when entering or exiting a vehicle. 'We will never know why Chedd did not use her handbrake or why she left the gearbox engaged in reverse. Losing focus for just a second led to a catastrophic series of events in which Mrs Bishop died and Chedd was left injured.  'That momentary error has had an immeasurable impact on a number of lives, Chedd’s included.

'I’d like to praise Mrs Bishop’s family for their strength and courage in reliving those terrible events and speak for all of Kent Police when I say that our thoughts are with them as they try to come to terms with this tragedy. I hope today’s result can bring them a measure of closure as they try to move on with their lives without Claire.'