A MAN accused of causing death by careless driving in a Poole road has been acquitted.

Ian Grenville Catley denied the charge in relation to the death of 71-year-old Jacqueline Bradnick following an incident in Poole Road, Branksome, shortly after 11pm on January 18, 2019.

Following a five-day trial at Bournemouth Crown Court, a jury unanimously found Mr Catley, also aged 71, not guilty of the single charge against him after around one hour and 40 minutes of deliberations yesterday.

As reported, Ms Bradnick died at Poole Hospital a short time after the incident having suffered serious head injuries, dozens of rib fractures and internal injuries.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr Catley had driven carelessly by driving straight over Ms Bradnick after she had ended up lying in the road, although the exact circumstances which led to her being there remain unknown.

The court was told Mr Catley, of Glenferness Avenue, Bournemouth, thought there was a rubbish bag in the road, which was actually Ms Bradnick.

Mr Catley continued straight on due to the wet conditions and being concerned evasive action could lead to a crash with another vehicle.

Giving evidence, Mr Catley 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.”

The court was told by long-time acquaintances of Mr Catley that he was an “honest” man who was “concerned for his fellow members of society”. Mr Catley had worked for Macmillan Cancer Relief for many years as well as being chief executive of head and neck cancer support charity About Face.

Members of Mr Catley’s family, who were watching proceedings by video link from a separate court room, reacted emotionally when he was found not guilty.