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Ashford driver Ronald David Lynch kills pensioner Michael Donnelly as both return from Belgium coach trip

An Ashford man's car struck and killed a pensioner after they had returned from a day out to Belgium on the same coach trip.

Tragedy struck as driver Ronald David Lynch was leaving a car park in Beaver Lane after completing a Christmas shopping trip on a freezing December night.

Another of the day trippers, pensioner Michael Donnelly, 70, had been walking nearby when Lynch’s car knocked him down.

Beaver Road, Ashford, where the accident happened. Picture: Google Street View
Beaver Road, Ashford, where the accident happened. Picture: Google Street View

Prosecutor Paul Valder told Canterbury Crown Court that Lynch had driven out of the car park intending to turn right onto a main road and had been driving slowly.

“However as he did so he collided with Mr Donnelly, who sustained injuries from which he died.”

Lynch, 55, of Beaver Lane, had denied causing death by driving carelessly but was convicted by a jury.

Mr Valder told the court: “Had he been driving with the requisite care and attention the accident would not have happened.”

The jury had heard how on December 1 last year Lynch, his wife and step son and Mr Donnelly had all been on an outing to the Christmas markets in Belgium.

“They had been picked up by coach in the early morning from the car park of the Marino’s Fish Bar in Beaver Road, next door to the Beaver Inn.”

The prosecutor said the coach party returned at 8.20 pm and “on any view it was cold and below freezing but it was dry and not slippery under foot.”

Lynch went to get his Vauxhall Cavalier, which was parked in the Beaver Inn car park, as 6ft 5ins Mr Donnelly began walking.

An eye-witness saw him carrying a white carrier bag and “at the same time saw the Cavalier emerging from the car park.

Mr Valder said Mr Donnelly was then seen to raise his hand in an attempt to get the attention of the driver of the Cavalier and also tapped on the bonnet.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

“The car stopped briefly but then pulled away, knocking Mr Donnelly to the ground and then partially over him.”

The eyewitness, who was trained in first aid, went to help the stricken victim who was lying on his back and losing consciousness.

He was later taken to the William Harvey Hospital suffering from head and chest injuries before being transferred to King’s College Hospital in London but died two weeks later.

Lynch was heard to say after the accident: “I didn’t see him. I didn’t know I had hit him.”

Mr Valder said that ice had been scraped off the windscreen of the Cavalier “most of it but not all and the inside was misted up”.

“I didn’t see him. I didn’t know I had hit him” - David Lynch

Student James Foster,17, who was on the opposite side of the road, heard a bang and saw “a couple of bags going onto the windscreen”.

“He then saw a man lying on the ground, “ the prosecutor said.

Lynch later told police that when he returned to his car after the trip “it was covered in ice” and so he started the engine.

He scraped both front and rear windows and then drove very slowly towards the exit of the car park.

As he pulled away he felt “the front of the car lift slightly..like driving over a bag of rubbish” and reversed “to remove the rubbish and then saw a man lying in the road."

He will now be sentenced on January 13 next year after the preparation of probation reports and was remanded on bail.

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