A VAN driver who knocked into a pensioner in Waitrose car park, resulting in her death a week later, has been banned from driving for 16 months.

The family of Ruth Saunders had called for Paul Edwards to face a heavy penalty after he admitted hitting the 77-year-old woman on December 22.

But magistrates stepped short of jailing him, instead ordering Edwards complete 120 hours of unpaid work.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard Edwards had been behind the wheel of his red Ford Escort van at around 7.45am when he cut the corner of a two-way road system near the entrance to the Waitrose supermarket.

Edwards, who visited Waitrose almost daily for his morning coffee, was driving at around five miles per hour and looking around for a parking space. He had not seen Mrs Saunders walk from the store entrance and into the road.

CCTV played in court showed the moment she was thrown across Edwards’ bonnet. The pensioner fell several metres away from where she was hit, injuring her head in the fall.

Edwards could be seen in the CCTV footage leaping from his van and helping the members of the public who came to the aid of the injured Mrs Saunders.

She was taken first to Great Western Hospital then, when her condition deteriorated, to Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Mrs Saunders died on New Year's Day, 10 days after the accident.

Estate manager Edwards, 50, of Raybrook Crescent, Rodbourne, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Defending, Tony Nowogrodzki said his client was extremely remorseful. He had suffered a “momentary lapse of concentration, which will haunt him for the rest of his life”.

“Since the incident happened he’s been suffering with depression. He’s had panic attacks, suffers from anxiety and he’s also had flashbacks with regards to the incident,” Mr Nowogrodzki added.

“There is not a day goes by without him thinking about what had happened. He feels a great deal of remorse.”

Sentencing him to a 12-month community order, Sarah Neish, chairman of the bench, said: “We’ve had three victim personal statements from Mrs Saunders’ daughters, which very clearly show how the death of their mother has profoundly changed and affected their lives and their family.

“They are all angry and totally devastated by their loss.”