Hartlepool man found not guilty of causing the death of 88-year-old woman
A Hartlepool man has been acquitted of causing the death of an elderly passenger of a bus he was driving.
James Brown was accused of causing the death of 88-year-old Dorothy McLaren.
Mrs McLaren suffered fatal injuries after falling as the bus driven by Mr Brown pulled away.
A jury at Teesside Crown Court took 30 minutes to find Mr Brown not guilty of causing Mrs McLaren's death by his careless driving.
During a trial this week, the jury heard Mr Brown, from Hartlepool, was a newly qualified driver for Stagecoach.
On January 9, last year, he was at the wheel of a number 12 bus when he picked up Mrs McLaren in Acklam Road, Middlesbrough.
Prosecutors alleged he pulled away before she had taken her seat.
She fell, hitting her head on the back of a seat, then the floor of the bus.
Mrs McLaren was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where she died three days later after suffering an inoperable bleed on the brain.
Mr Brown, 46, denied causing death by careless driving.
He told the jury he first became aware there was a problem when other passengers shouted at him.
He stopped the bus immediately and went to Mrs McLaren's aid.
Mr Brown, who formerly worked in local government, said he had carried on bus driving for a few months after the accident, but had been unable to bring himself to drive the same route.
He said he has since quit bus driving and will not drive a public service vehicle again.
Following the tragedy Mrs McLaren's family paid tribute to her as a “very fit and active lady” adding they were heartbroken.