A DRIVER accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless driving has been found not guilty.

Deborah Quartey, 24, wept in the dock as jurors returned their verdicts yesterday following around three-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Miss Quartey, of Thames Close in Ferndown, was charged following a fatal collision on January 28 last year.

Her Renault Clio had collided with a Kawasaki motorcycle ridden by 67-year-old Graham Hibbs in Victoria Road, Ferndown.

Mr Hibbs, who lived in Wimborne, was "catapulted" through the air in the collision, which happened as Miss Quartey attempted to turn right into Westwood Avenue. He suffered severe head and chest injuries and died at the scene.

When she gave evidence on Wednesday, Miss Quartey, who was represented by Nick Robinson, said she hadn't seen Mr Hibbs approaching.

Expert witnesses from both prosecution and defence teams agreed that parts of the carriageway were obscured by shadows on the day of the accident. There was also bright sunlight.

Miss Quartey, who had denied the charge, said she had seen a bus travelling towards her, but had not spotted the motorcycle.

"There was nothing ahead of the bus as far as I could tell and I thought it was safe. The bus was so far away and I thought I had time," she said.

“The only thing I can think of is that he was in the shadows. In my heart of hearts I was careful.

"Anybody in my position at that time would have done the same thing."

Yesterday morning, Judge Brian Forster QC instructed jurors that he would accept a majority verdict after three hours and three minutes of deliberations. A short time later, the jury of six men and six women delivered a not guilty verdict.

Miss Quartey started to cry in the dock, and wiped her eyes with a tissue.

Speaking after the hearing, Judge Forster asked for his condolences to be passed to Mr Hibbs' family.

"These cases are always very difficult," he said.

"I know so little about the deceased and his family, but it is clear he was driving in an ordinary way and the jury have taken the view this was a tragic accident."

Miss Quartey did not wish to comment further after the hearing.