Driver walks free after being cleared of causing pensioner’s death

A delivery driver who reversed into a 86-year-old Norwich pensioner in a doctor's surgery car park walked free from court after he was cleared of causing her death by careless driving.

Christopher Burch, 31, left, was delivering parcels for FedEx and was reversing his white van into the ambulance bay at Thorpewood surgery, on Woodside Road, Heartsease, when he was involved in the accident with pensioner Doris Fowler.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Mrs Fowler had just been dropped off at the surgery by her daughter-in-law when the tragedy happened, at about 2.20pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Mrs Fowler suffered serious injuries in the crash and was immediately attended by medical staff at the surgery until an ambulance arrived, but she died later that night in hospital.

Burch, whose address was given in court as Peverell Road, Bowthorpe, but is believed to have recently moved, had denied causing her death by careless driving on October 20, last year.

He said that he had checked his mirrors and taken all precautions before he started reversing into the space and even had his driver's window open as an extra precaution. The jury yesterday took just over two hours to clear him of causing the death of the pensioner.

After the case Mrs Fowler's family did not want to make any comment. Stephen Edwards, managing partner at the surgery, said changes had been made to the car park following the accident.

He said: 'As soon as the accident happened we had the Health and Safety Executive on the site. Along with the police they looked into it but found it difficult to make any concrete recommendations.

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'However, since then we have had a pharmacy built next to the surgery so we have changed the layout of the car park. We have some extra car parking spaces now and some trees have been cut down, so there is a clearer path of vision. We have also put some concrete bollards in where the accident happened.'

Do you want to pay tribute to Mrs Fowler? Contact the Evening News on 01603 772443 or email