AN elderly driver who killed a neighbour after striking her as he reversed his car yards from her front door has been handed a suspended prison sentence and fined.

Lewis Thorne, aged 77, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday after admitting causing death by careless driving at a previous hearing. Ann Lowrey, of Southbourne Road, Bournemouth, suffered multiple injuries when she was hit by Thorne’s Fiat Multipla, with Thorne at the wheel, on April 26.

The pedestrian was taken to Poole Hospital, where she died of her injuries days later.

Mrs Lowery, aged 87, had been returning from her son’s house, which was five minutes walk from her own, after enjoying their daily cup of coffee. Her son John, aged 64, was told of the crash by a passerby and rushed to his mother’s side as she was being treated by paramedics.

Reading his victim impact statement during yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Mr Lowrey recalled how his mother’s head was on her handbag, covered in blood.

“Mum was conscious and screaming in agony,” he said. “I will never erase that horrific image from my mind.”

The court also heard how Mrs Lowery had recently been given the all-clear following five years of treatment for lung cancer. Her son told the court: “I know my mum was in her twilight years, but she didn’t deserve to die in agony.”

Prosecuting, Kerry Maylin, said Thorne, also of Southbourne Road, Bournemouth, had been reversing to park, at between 5-7mph, when the collision occurred.

Defending, Simon Goodman, said his client had been “profoundly shaken by what had happened.”

“He’s (Thorne) asked me to say he is very sorry for the loss to the family.” Thorne vowed to never drive again shortly after the incident.

Mr Goodman also told the court that Thorne, a man of previous good character with an exemplary 50-year driving record, was the sole carer for his wheelchair-bound wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Any immediate prison sentence, said Mr Goodman, would result in Thorne’s wife needing immediate residential care.

Sentencing, Judge Fuller said: “I accept that upon realising what you had done, resulted in you being profoundly shaken - and you have genuine remorse for what happened that day.

“Her death is on your shoulders, and will remain so.”

Thorne was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

He was also fined £2,000 and banned for driving for 12 months.