Pensioner spared jail after fatally reversing over 92-year-old

Iris Seddon, 88, of Tryndel Way, Bognor Regis, was sentenced to 16 months prison suspended for two years after admitting causing the death of 92-year-old Dulcie Roberts by dangerous driving at Portsmouth Crown Court. PPP-160612-122437001
Iris Seddon, 88, of Tryndel Way, Bognor Regis, was sentenced to 16 months prison suspended for two years after admitting causing the death of 92-year-old Dulcie Roberts by dangerous driving at Portsmouth Crown Court. PPP-160612-122437001
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A PENSIONER who reversed into and killed a 92-year-old felt ‘scraping’ as she ran over the woman, a court heard.

Iris Seddon, 88, admitted to police she did not see Dulcie Roberts as she crashed into her in a Nissan Micra.

When asked she acknowledged she had felt something and heard a scraping noise as she carried out the manoeuvre

Prosecutor Edward Hand

Ms Roberts had been walking behind a row of parked cars near the Post Office, in Felpham Road, Felpham.

CCTV from the nearby wine shop played at Portsmouth Crown Court showed Seddon reversing the vehicle into Ms Roberts’ shopper trolley.

The victim held on to the trolley as the Nissan hit but she then fell behind the car as Seddon continued and ran over her, inflicting fatal injuries.

Passerby Ronald Manton rushed to tell Seddon, who had not seen Ms Roberts, to stop but the driver carried on reversing until she was parallel with the Felpham Road.

Edward Hand, prosecuting, said: ‘Mrs Seddon started to reverse out of her parking space into Felpham Road.

‘In doing so she collided with first the shopper trolley of Ms Roberts then Ms Roberts herself.

‘She tried to keep hold of her trolley and maintain her own balance, but suddenly failing and falling to the ground.

‘Mrs Seddon continued to drive backwards and turn in such a way that her vehicle drove over Ms Roberts.’

He added Seddon only stopped when Mr Manton had spoken to her.

‘Despite his protest to her Mrs Seddon moved her vehicle forwards and only came to a stop having driven forward a few metres,’ the prosecutor added.

Another driver pulling into the car park, Pauline Dunn, had sounded her car horn to warn Seddon.

Tragically Ms Roberts, of Grassmere Close, Felpham, died of her injuries in the incident outside the Post Office, which happened on January 13 at 12.26pm.

Sentencing, judge Roger Hetherington spared the driver immediate custody but imposed a 16-month term suspended for two years.

He said a victim person statement, written by the victim’s elderly brother Gordon Duffell, showed the family were ‘shocked and distressed’.

Addressing Seddon, who has no previous convictions, he said: ‘You failed to see that the deceased, Dulcie Roberts, aged 92 and pushing a shopping trolley, was about to pass to your rear.

‘It may be that your view was marred to an extent by a Range Rover parked to your right and your concentration was focused on traffic that might be coming along the road as you made your reverse turn.

‘Your Micra knocked over first the trolley and in the process Dulcie Roberts, and failing to realise what you had done you proceeded to run her over, as a result of which she sustained fatal injuries.

He added: ‘Your driving created a significant risk of danger, it was to be anticipated that pedestrians might not always use the pavement and might be behind the parking bays whilst not walking on the road carriageway.’

The court heard Seddon suffers from amnesia and does not remember in full what happened.

In a police interview she said she ‘did not see’ the victim.

‘When asked she acknowledged she had felt something and heard a scraping noise as she carried out the manoeuvre,’ Mr Hand added.

Alex Stein, mitigating, said Seddon, of Tryndel Way, Bognor Regis, carried out a ‘single dangerous manoeuvre’.

He added: ‘She has been suffering from depression.’

A psychiatric report carried out to see if she was fit to plead also found she was ‘sadly crying on her own at night every night, waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety,’ Mr Stein added.

Seddon, who was said to be remorseful, was excused from the court while CCTV was played.

She had earlier pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

The judge banned her from driving for three years. She must take an extended re-test to regain her licence.

In a statement issued after the hearing, Sergeant Clare Kenward, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: ‘This incident resulted in the tragic death of 92-year-old Dulcie Roberts, who is very much missed by her family and friends.

‘Driving is a complex task and I would urge all motorists of any age to constantly evaluate whether they are fit enough to perform this function.’