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Van driver Christopher Arnold avoids jail for causing death of pedestrian Roy Bowen in Rustall

A van driver found to be responsible for the death of an elderly pedestrian as he crossed the road has walked free from court.

Christopher Arnold, 55, of Furzefield Avenue, Speldhurst, denied causing the death of great-grandfather Roy Bowen by careless driving, but was convicted.

He was sentenced to a year in jail suspended for two years and banned from driving for a year. He was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

The incident happened at the junction with Manor Road, Rusthall. Picture: Google.
The incident happened at the junction with Manor Road, Rusthall. Picture: Google.

The 78-year-old victim was crossing Manor Road in Rusthall on November 27 last year when he was knocked down by Arnold’s Nissan Primastar van.

Among the witnesses was Jackie Jarrett and her young son, aged seven, as they walked to get fish and chips.

“I was by the bus stop outside the One-Stop shop on the High Street,” she told the jury at Maidstone Crown Court. “I was looking to see if it was clear to cross Manor Road.

“It was dark. It had been raining earlier in the day. I noticed a man coming towards me on the other side of the road. Two buses met on the High Street.”

Miss Jarrett said one of the buses reversed.

“Because the van was directly behind the bus, he reversed as well. He pulled away and headed into Manor Road.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

“I just saw a silhouette of his head. I am guessing he was looking to his left. It looked like he was making hand gestures to the bus.”

Miss Jarrett said Mr Bowen was already crossing the road.

“He looked both ways to see if it was clear, and it was clear at the time, so he began to cross,” she said.

“The van came round into Manor Road at the same time and got to the white centre lines. The van ran him over - hit him.”

Prosecutor Alasdair Smith suggested Arnold was frustrated at having his way blocked by the buses and may have been looking towards them.

“This may be the simple explanation of what sadly happened to cause him not to see Mr Bowen,” he said. “In other words, he was distracted by what was going on up the road.

“Mr Bowen was crossing the road and if Mr Arnold was looking properly he was there to be seen. He says he didn’t see Mr Bowen and can’t explain why that was.”

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