A lorry driver who hit and killed an elderly pedestrian on a pedestrian crossing whilst the traffic lights were on red, has been spared jail.

Southampton Crown Court heard how Gary Horbury, 58, of Ferndale Road, New Milton, had been travelling south and came to a stop at a pelican crossing on Station Road in New Milton, Hampshire, with the front of his vehicle overhanging the pedestrian crossing.

Margaret Fraser, 89, was traversing the crossing, whilst the pedestrian lights were flashing green, when Horbury ignored the red traffic light and began to move off.

Fraser was hit by Horbury’s sand and ballast lorry as it moved off and died at the scene. Horbury was unaware he had hit the great-grandmother until he was flagged down by witnesses.

Prosecutor Michael Forster said the defendant was at fault for failing to align his front mirror, failing to make any checks of the mirror and failing to move in the cab so that he had a better view.

In a victim personal statement, Fraser’s daughter said the incident had a devastating and heart breaking effect on the family.

Defending, Rob Bryant argued against the defendant being sent to prison. He pointed to the fact Horbury had no traces of alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the incident on January 20 last year.

He added that his client had a clean licence and was of previous good character with 30-years’ experience working as a professional HGV driver.

He also pointed to Horbury’s role in the Falklands War in 1982 when serving in the Royal Navy onboard HMS Broadsword and had helped to evacuate 170 service people from HMS Coventry.

Judge Christopher Parker QC handed Horbury a 24-month community order to include 220 hours of unpaid work and made no order for costs.