A MOTORIST who caused the death of an elderly pedestrian with his careless driving has been spared jail.

James Terrance Hewitt was struck by a Ford Fiesta as he crossed Newcastle Road, in Chester-le-Street, near a mini roundabout, shortly after 8.30am on Tuesday, December 3, last year.

The 91-year-old, who lived in the town, was on his way to collect newspapers for residents of a care home.

He suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he died a few days later.

The driver, Ashley Allon, who was convicted of causing Mr Hewitt’s death by careless driving, appeared at Durham Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.

The court was told he was taking his son to school at the time of the collision, was not speeding or over the drink-drive limit.

The only aggravating factors, the court heard, was Allon’s driving record, which includes previous convictions for careless and dangerous driving, as well as driving while disqualified, between 2010 and 2014.

His barrister, Tony Davis, said: “It is a very complex mini roundabout, particularly at that time in the morning. There was a lot of traffic around.

“I don’t seek to cast aspersions on Mr Hewitt unnecessarily but it is a feature of the evidence that that is not a pedestrian crossing.

“It is a case probably best categorised as a momentary lapse of concentration.”

Mr Davis said Allon, 35, of Park View, South Pelaw, Chester-le-Street, did try to help Mr Hewitt at the scene and ensured an ambulance had been called.

Mr Davis said: “His remorse is absolutely genuine.

“The consequences for him, not only because of the behavioural problems which have developed in his own child as a result of witnessing this, have made the time since this accident very difficult for Mr Allon.

“It will continue to haunt him for a very long time.”

Judge James Adkin said the father-of-three sentenced him to six months imprisonment suspended for two years.

Allon is subject to a six month curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am and banned from driving for years.

The judge said he will have to take an extended driving test.

The judge said: “Prior to crossing the road he would have been visible directly in front of you as you approached the roundabout before he stepped out.

“The evidence suggests he would have been visible to you for about ten seconds before impact.

“It seems to me that inference is from the evidence if that you did not see Mr Hewitt at all until he hit your windscreen.

“The impact tragically led to his death in due course.”