A FORMER bus driver who admitted to causing the death of a woman pedestrian by careless driving in St Helens has been given a suspended sentence.

Audrey Williams died shortly after she was knocked over by a double-decker bus at a traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing in Bickerstaffe Street near the town hall on November 19, 2020.

The driver, Kenneth Cherry, of Colburne Close, Burscough, appeared for sentencing at Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, June 29.

The 73-year-old had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving during an earlier hearing.

The bench was told in that hearing by the prosecution that Cherry had stopped over the white line and had set off when the lights were changing from red to amber and had not checked to his left.

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Scott Phillips, prosecuting, said that the 63-year-old victim was knocked to the ground and the bus caused her catastrophic injuries.

After being alerted to the situation, Cherry turned the Arriva vehicle at an angle to the right and quickly stopped.

A police patrol was there within minutes of the collision and first aid was administered by until an ambulance arrived.

Mr Phillips added: "CPR was commenced by paramedics for a prolonged period and she was taken to Whiston Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 12.16 pm shortly after arrival,” he said.

“A Home Office pathologist said the cause of death was severe pelvic and leg injuries,” he added.

St Helens Star: Floral tributes left near the scene after the tragedyFloral tributes left near the scene after the tragedy

When interviewed in February Cherry said he “had been looking to his right at the traffic lights".

The prosecution added he then changed to green and proceeded forward into the crossing without checking the left-hand side of the bus.

He added: “When the lights changed to green he assumed the crossing was clear and proceeded into the crossing.

“He had not checked his blind spot."

He told the court that Cherry’s driving had “fallen below that of a competent driver…..it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure the crossing is clear.”

Defence barrister Peter Wilson had said that the case involved “a momentary lapse of concentration”.

He said Cherry set off when the lights had changed to green but he admitted not checking to his left.

Mr Wilson said that the defendant has no previous convictions and has since given up his driving licence.

Cherry was given a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. 

A court sheet said Cherry's sentence was suspended because of his "early guilty plea, mitigating factors put forward by the defence and no previous convictions".

He was also given 100 hours of unpaid work, was banned from driving for two years, and must pay £85 in costs and a £128 surcharge. 

The charge of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving was created in the Road Safety Act of 2006 and is a different offence to the more serious causing death by dangerous driving.

St Helens Star: Audrey WilliamsAudrey Williams

In a statement after the tragedy, the victim's family said: "Audrey will be sadly missed by her loving partner Stephen and their families."

Many people shared their thoughts online, paying tribute to Audrey and extending their sympathies to her family.