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Pensioner found guilty over death of cyclist knocked off his bike

PUBLISHED: 12:54 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:03 10 April 2019

Joan Martino, of Denmark Road, Lowestoft, is accused of causing death by careless driving. PHOTO: Google Maps

Joan Martino, of Denmark Road, Lowestoft, is accused of causing death by careless driving. PHOTO: Google Maps

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A Lowestoft pensioner has been found guilty of killing a man who broke his back and died from a blood clot after he was knocked off his bike.

Christopher Holt, 58, died four days after he was hit by Joan Martino’s car on Rainham Road, Essex, on May 11, 2016, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Holt, from nearby Hornchurch, was wearing a high-visibility vest and had been only 150 metres from work when Martino’s Toyota was seen to “drift” towards the curb.

The car knocked Mr Holt off his bike, sending him flying into the air before he hit the bonnet and rolled into the road, the court was told.

The defendant stopped at the scene and appeared to be “shaky and in shock”.

Prosecutor Ben Temple had said: “As a result of the collision, Christopher Holt suffered a fracture to his spine. As a result of that injury, he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died.”

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Martino, 71, of Denmark Road, Lowestoft, denied causing the death of Mr Holt by careless driving, saying she did not see him until he hit the bonnet.

She told jurors she had been at the house of her recently deceased aunt, Rose, before the collision.

She went to bed early and set off home to Lowestoft, on the Suffolk coast, at around 4am to avoid the traffic, driving a Rav 4 she had got just a week earlier.

Describing the collision, the mother-of-five - who has fostered another 35 children, said: “It was just a split second and that man was on my bonnet.”

A jury found her guilty of causing death by careless driving.

Judge Sarah Munro QC told jurors that the victim’s family had attended court throughout the trial and “from their perspective this is an absolute tragedy”.

She indicated that she would not jail the defendant when she sentenced her later.

She told the court the offence resulted from “a second or two moments’ inattention from a lady with an impeccable driving record” and there was no dispute it fell into the lowest category.

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