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Pensioner found guilty of killing Hornchurch cyclist in car crash 150m from his work

PUBLISHED: 13:28 10 April 2019

Christopher Holt was cycling along Rainham Road when he was knocked off his bike and died because of his injuries. Photo: Google Maps

Christopher Holt was cycling along Rainham Road when he was knocked off his bike and died because of his injuries. Photo: Google Maps

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A pensioner has been found guilty of killing a Hornchurch man who broke his back and died from a blood clot after he was knocked off his bike in Rainham.

The Central Criminal Court also referred to as the Old Bailey, on Old Bailey, central London. Photo: PAThe Central Criminal Court also referred to as the Old Bailey, on Old Bailey, central London. Photo: PA

Christopher Holt, 58, died four days after he was hit by Joan Martino’s car in Rainham Road on May 11, 2016, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Holt was wearing a high-visibility vest and had been only 150 metres from work when Martino’s Toyota was seen to “drift” towards the curb.

The car knocked Mr Holt off his bike, sending him flying into the air before he hit the bonnet and rolled into the road, the court was told.

The defendant stopped at the scene and appeared to be “shaky and in shock”.

Prosecutor Ben Temple had said: “As a result of the collision, Christopher Holt suffered a fracture to his spine. As a result of that injury, he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died.”

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Martino, 71, of Denmark Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, denied causing the death of Mr Holt by careless driving, saying she did not see him until he hit the bonnet.

She told jurors she had been at the house of her recently deceased aunt, Rose, before the collision.

She went to bed early and set off home to Lowestoft, on the Suffolk coast, at around 4am to avoid the traffic, driving a Rav 4 she had got just a week earlier.

Describing the collision, the mother-of-five - who has fostered another 35 children, said: “It was just a split second and that man was on my bonnet.”

A jury found her guilty of causing death by careless driving.

Judge Sarah Munro QC told jurors that the victim’s family had attended court throughout the trial and “from their perspective this is an absolute tragedy”.

She indicated that she would not jail the defendant when she sentenced her later.

She told the court the offence resulted from “a second or two moments’ inattention from a lady with an impeccable driving record” and there was no dispute it fell into the lowest category.

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