81-year-old Woman Presses Accelerator Instead of Brake While Driving, Kills 1, Injures Another

A retired Ofsted Inspector ran over her neighbors while reversing her car after mistaking the accelerator for brakes.

Coleorton, Coalville: A retired Ofsted inspector Judith Pearson, 81, killed one neighbor and injured another when she pressed the accelerator instead of the brakes while moving her automatic car, a court heard. Pearson, while trying to reverse her car into her driveway in Coleorton, near Coalville, accidentally hit her neighbors Martin Bust and Albert Attfield in November last year.

79-year-old Albert Attfield was sweeping leaves while talking to Martin Bust and his wife when he was run over by Pearson. He sustained multiple fractures in the accident and died later in the hospital with chest injuries and pneumonia. Bust, on the other hand, was thrown across the road by the force and sustained serious leg injuries.

Judith Pearson
Judith Pearson Screengrab - BPM Media

'Judith Pearson was remorseful'

Pearson pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving. She was sentenced to 10 months in jail and banned from driving for two years. She was also ordered to pay £500 as fine. Pearson surrendered her driving license after the incident and stated that she has no intention of driving again. The judge, Ebrahim Mooncey at the Leicester Crown Court said that Pearson was 'remorseful' and the fact that she would have to 'live with the knowledge of what she had done' would have a 'more significant effect' than any penalty he could impose.

"The case shows how powerful motor cars are and that even at relatively modest speeds the impact cars can have is immense," judge Mooncey said. The victim, Albert Attfield was a "well-liked, respected, generous and compassionate," the court heard. His daughter Sarah Riley said her father was a "much-loved fit and healthy man who had many years ahead of him." Martin Bust, on the other hand, had to undergo surgery to repair his leg with metal plates, which interfered with his cancer treatment. The court heard that Bust fears he will never regain his former mobility.

'Panic took over'

Judith Pearson retired with an "exemplary" career before having worked as a teacher, then a headteacher, and finally an Ofsted inspector, attorney Kevin Waddingham noted. "She was performing a routine manoeuvre and the panic took the situation out of her rational control," he added. "Her first thoughts are for those who were hurt, physically and emotionally, by her actions. She wishes to express her remorse and sorrow she's devastated."