“THE world exploded” was how a pensioner described the moment she pulled out into a road causing a collision which killed a 23-year-old motorcyclist.
Michael Harrison was travelling on the A3083 near RNAS Culdrose on July 20 last year at about 10.30pm on his red Yamaha when Gwyneth Little made the fatal turn.
The father-of-one from Camborne was airlifted to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, with a broken leg and serious head injuries and died less than a week later.
On Tuesday at Truro Crown Court, 74-year-old Little, who had been at a barn dance prior to the accident, pleaded guilty to having caused his death by driving without due care an attention.
Little, of Station Road, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, stopped her grey Honda Jazz to cross the road at the junction with Gunwalloe Road, near Helston.
Elaine Hobson, for the Crown Prosecution Service, told the court that CCTV footage from RNAS Culdrose showed she waited for two cars to pass before making the turn across Mr Harrison’s path.
Ms Hobson said an investigation ruled out the presence of alcohol in either driver and had not found any mechanical defects in either vehicle.
She added that Little was very distressed in her police interview, adding: “She said very candidly and openly that she had seen the motorcycle headlight but despite that she made the decision to drive out in front of Mr Harrison.”
Ms Hobson said Mr Harrison had been separated from his partner, with whom he had a baby last year.
He was living with his mother, with whom he had recently resumed contact, and she had bought him the motorcycle to help him get to work, Ms Hobson added.
Terry Eastwood, for the defence, said Little, was extremely remorseful and told him she would never drive again, having not done so since the accident. She had been left with a burden of guilt that would be with her for the rest of her life.
He added that she told police officers she had pulled out and the “world had exploded”.
Recorder Malcolm Gibney described the incident as a “catastrophic misjudgement” by Little which had tragic consequences for Mr Harrison’s family and for her.
He said: “Nothing this court can do will in anyway compensate for the loss the Harrison family have suffered or indeed diminish the impact that this had had on your life.”
Little was sentenced to an 18-month community order and told carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work.
She was also ordered to pay £530 towards the costs of the prosecution, banned from driving for 12 months and will have to pass an extended retest before she can drive again.