A VAN driver has gone on trial accused of causing the death of a dog-walker who was knocked over just days before Christmas.

Carol Robson, 58, suffered multiple injuries in the collision on South Church Enterprise Park in Bishop Auckland.

Stephen Yorke, 54, denies a charge of causing death by careless driving and is facing a four-day trial at Teesside Crown Court.

A jury heard yesterday how grandmother Mrs Robson was walking her small white dog on the morning of December 21, in 2015.

Mr Yorke had reversed his Mercedes Sprinter van up to gates at the entrance to Teescraft Engineering before "clocking on", said prosecutor Jolyon Perks.

The Northern Echo:

The area near where the incident happened

As he was driving away from the business premises to visit another site, he collided with Mrs Robson, who later died in hospital.

Mr Perks told the jury that there were no witnesses to the tragedy, and the driver later told police: "I just didn't see her."

"He ran to her assistance and tried to provide first aid, and it appears he was not in possession of his mobile phone at that point, he had left it on charge," said Mr Perks.

"He picked up the lady's phone from the road, and by this time other people had noticed the incident and the emergency services were en-route.

"Although an ambulance attended swiftly, and she was taken to hospital, she later passed away.

"While a number of people saw the aftermath, nobody saw the incident itself other than the defendant.

"There were no carriageway hazards or obstructions that were identified that might have contributed to the incident.

"At the time of the incident, it was dark.

"The prosecution say Mrs Robson would have been visible if this defendant had looked carefully left and right and pulled away from the gates and onto the road.

"The prosecution say his manner of driving on that morning, having regard to the road conditions, the light conditions, his knowledge of that particular area fell below what could be expected from a competent and careful driver.

"The prosecution submit the following - that the lady in the company of a white dog was there to be seen, whichever side of the pavement she was walking on.

"There may be a number of distractions that come into play - the music on the radio in the van, the defendant's understandable happiness with the Christmas season, his eagerness to get on with his job.

"All of these are a factor in his driving which may have affected him."

Mr Yorke, of Northumberland Avenue, Bishop Auckland, was said to have been "understandably distressed" by the collision.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, warned the jury of seven women and five men not to let feelings of emotion or sympathy enter their thinking during the case.

  • The case is proceeding