‘It was a split second and he was on my bonnet’ says woman accused of killing Hornchurch cyclist in Rainham collision

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

The Central Criminal Court also referred to as the Old Bailey, on Old Bailey, central London. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A pensioner accused of killing a Hornchurch cyclist in a collision as he went to work has told a court she did not see him until he was on the bonnet of her car.

Joan Martino, 71, denies causing the death of Christopher Holt, 58, by careless driving in her Toyota Rav 4 on May 11 2016.

The Old Bailey has heard that Mr Holt broke his back and died in hospital from a blood clot four days after he was hit by Martino’s vehicle in Rainham Road, Rainham.

Mr Holt was wearing a high-visibility vest and was only 150 metres from work when he was knocked off his bike, jurors have been told.

Martino’s car was allegedly seen to “drift” towards the kerb and into Mr Holt’s bicycle, the court heard.

Mother-of-five Martino, who has fostered another 35 children, said she does not know how the collision occurred.

“It was just a split second and that man was on my bonnet,” she told jurors.

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“I stopped straight in front, got out of the car and went straight to Mr Holt.”

The court heard she was shaking so much that a passer-by took her phone to call police, while another onlooker shouted: “He’s a tough old boy, he’ll be all right.”

Martino said she tried to call Mr Holt over the following days before police arrived to tell her he had died.

“I was just distraught. I didn’t know what was going on because I didn’t know how the accident happened,” she added.

Martino, of Denmark Road, Lowestoft, told jurors she had been at the house of her recently deceased aunt, Rose, before the collision.

She said 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.

Martino said it was dry, clear and light at the time her car hit Mr Holt’s bicycle as she drove in flowing traffic at between 20mph and 25mph.