The family of a “perfect” mum-of-two, killed when a careless OAP ploughed her down as she mounted the pavement in a courtesy car in Leyland, have spoken of their horror after the driver walked free from court with just “a slap on the wrist”.
Anne Cole, 71, smashed into Hazel I’Anson, who had been walking her dog in Leyland, but claimed she had been suffering a diabetic episode at the time.
Retired teacher Cole denied causing the death of the 51-year-old “perfect wife and mother” by careless driving and said the sudden onset of hypoglycemia had left her incapable of controlling her vehicle.
Preston Crown Court heard Cole had been involved in another near-miss moments before the fatal accident, and was in fact driving a courtesy car a the time of the accident because she had damaged her own car in another crash, nine days previously.
She was convicted by a jury following a trial last month but the pensioner walked free from court with a community order - a move slammed by Mrs I’Anson’s husband David, 60, and 29-year-old son Mark.
Father-of-two David said: “Hazel was the rock of our family. What we have lost can never be replaced and to think she has only been given a slap on the wrist is shocking.
“I didn’t think she’d be jailed because of her health and her age but I hoped she would at least get a fine.
“The sentence doesn’t reflect the gravity of the crime.
“It’s not about the money - it’s about giving someone a punishment for taking a life.”
Mrs I’Anson’s son Mark, a mechanical engineer, added: “It’s been hell for our family.
“It’s been one big nightmare and the sentence just makes it even harder to move on.”
The court heard that as Cole approached the mini-roundabout where Bent Lane meets Church Road and Heald House Road on February 12 last year, she failed to give way to a tipper truck on her right and then accelerated, swerving up on to the pavement and knocking Mrs I’Anson high into the air. She later died from her injuries.
Judge Michael Byrne, sentencing, said: “Cases of this kind are some of the most tragic cases that come before the courts. Two families have been devastated.
“Everybody now wishes that they could turn the clock back and avoid this terrible tragedy.”
He handed Cole, of Downham Road, Leyland, a three year community order and declared her medically unfit to drive.