A MAN accused of causing the death of a woman by driving carelessly in Poole told a jury he did what he thought was right by not swerving “at the last moment” after seeing something in the road in front of him.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard that what Ian Catley had seen in Poole Road was 71-year-old Jacqueline Bradnick and he drove his Suzuki Alto over her having thought her body was a bag.

Catley, also aged 71 and of Glenferness Avenue, Bournemouth, was in the witness box yesterday, October 22, during his trial over an accusation of causing Ms Bradnick’s death by careless driving shortly after 11pm on January 18, 2019.

Prosecutors allege that the defendant had an opportunity to avoid driving over Ms Bradnick, who had ended up on the floor in the road on a wet winter’s night.

Catley said he drove carefully and he thought his actions at the wheel had been the right thing to do in the circumstances.

He said: “I was driving along Poole Road when suddenly I saw a dark object in the road ahead of me. I had one, two, three seconds at the most to react. It was a tremendous surprise.

“I thought it was a bag of some sort and because of my experience I was not going to swerve at the last moment on a wet road, as this would have been dangerous.

“I could have hit an oncoming car or the car behind could have gone straight into the back of me.

“Any experienced driver would have done the same.

“I didn’t drive without undue care or attention.”

Cross examining Catley, prosecutor Isabel Delamere put it to the defendant that he took the decision to drive straight on when he had seen an “item” – Ms Bradnick – on the floor in the road.

He said: “I thought it was the safe thing to do.”

Asked if he had made a careless mistake, Catley said: “I did what I thought was the right thing. I drove safely that night.”

Retired Major David Marshall, who has known Catley for seven years, told the court the defendant is “one of the most honest, straightforward men I have met in my life”.

Colin Chalky-Maber, who has known him for more than 30 years, said he is “very measured in his behaviour”.

Catley denies a charge of causing death by careless driving. The trial continues.