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Pensioner handed community order after accidentally killing best friend in 'tragic' parking blunder
3 December 2019, 12:50
A pensioner who accidentally killed her lifelong best friend in a “tragic” parking blunder has been handed a community order.
Patricia Tulip, 82, felt a "great deal of remorse" after a series of errors caused fatal injuries to her passenger, Joyce Nainby, outside the 80-year-old's home in Gosforth, Newcastle.
A court heard that Mrs Tulip was parking her Skoda Roomster when it began to roll backwards, at which point she realised it was in reverse instead of neutral and she had not applied the handbrake properly.
The defendant quickly got back inside but instead of braking, she accidentally pressed on the accelerator, causing the vehicle to hurtle backwards towards grandmother-of-six Mrs Nainby, who was hit by the open side door.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the stricken woman was rushed to hospital, but eventually died from her injuries 10 days after the accident happened on September 18 2018.
Prosecutors said the pair had gone to school together around 70 years ago, and had been best friends.
They were returning from a school reunion when the incident took place.
Mrs Tulip admitted causing death by careless driving following the incident and on Tuesday was told she will have to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Sentencing her, Judge Amanda Rippon said: "As a result of a series of careless errors by you, your car very sadly became the implement responsible for your old and great friend's tragic death.
"Although she was 80, she was fit and she was active, and she had every reason to expect many more years with her family."
Mrs Tulip was banned from driving for three years - but the court heard that she gave up her licence immediately after the accident.
Describing how the loss had "completely devastated" the Nainby family, the judge said the victim's husband of 64 years, Peter, died months after the incident without her by his side.
"There is no sentence that I can give that will bring back Joyce Nainby for her family, or for you," the judge told the defendant.
Shaun Routledge, defending, said Mrs Tulip, who wore a purple coat and mopped away tears during the hearing, had written a letter of condolence to her friend's family.
"I have not come across, in over 30 years, a set of facts or circumstances that are similar to these," he told the court.