A DRIVER still has flashbacks to the moment his Ford Escort van knocked down a pensioner in Waitrose car park three days before Christmas.

Paul Edwards was behind the wheel of the red van on December 22 when he struck 77-year-old Ruth Saunders in the Wichelstowe supermarket car park. She hit her head as she fell to the ground.

Paramedics were called to the scene. Initially, the woman’s injuries were not thought to be serious and she was taken to the Great Western Hospital by ambulance.

However, over Christmas her condition worsened. She was taken to Southmead Hospital, Bristol, where she died on New Years’ Day.

Appearing before Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday, 49-year-old Edwards, of Raybrook Crescent, Rodbourne, admitted a charge of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

Defending, Tony Nowogrodski said his client had been deeply affected by the crash.

Edwards, who already suffered from fibromyalgia, had also experienced depression, anxiety and panic attacks as a result of the accident.

“He does have flashbacks and he finds it at the moment very difficult to drive. He now only drives when he has to,” the solicitor added.

“This is a one off accident and won’t be repeated.”

Mr Nowogrodski said of the fatal accident: “This is going to affect both families. The defendant is going to have flashbacks and the victim’s family is going to have to deal with it as well.”

Magistrates adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the probation service.

Alison Auvray, chairman of the bench, said: “We are not going to sentence this today. We want some input from probation to learn more about you.”

Edwards was bailed to appear before the magistrates’ court on August 9.

Police appealed for witnesses to the fatal accident on January 2.

In a statement, PC Rich Hatch of the roads policing unit said: “I would like to offer our condolences to the woman’s family, who are being supported by specialist officers.”