AN engineer has been banned from driving after his van hit and killed a 91-year-old pedestrian as he pulled out of a supermarket in Kingsteignton.

Darren Crocombe was driving at 5 to 10 mph when he hit Robert Hoo-Hing who was crossing the road. He suffered a broken ankle and ribs and died from a heart attack.

Crocombe was let out into a stream of traffic by other drivers and did not see Mr Hoo-Hing in the very short time before the low-speed collision occurred in Newton Road on the afternoon of Friday October 2, 2020.

Mr Hoo-Hing’s family sat in the public gallery of Exeter Crown Court as he was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to do unpaid community work by Judge Timothy Rose.

Crocombe, aged 44, of Barton Drive, Kingsteignton, admitted causing death by careless driving and was also ordered to do 35 days of rehabilitation activities as part of a one year community order.

Judge Rose told him: ‘There is nothing I can say or do at this hearing that will address the consequences of this tragic and appalling bereavement or the great hurt and distress visited on Mr Hoo-Hing’s family.

‘I recognise this is an extremely difficult experience for them.

‘Everybody has lived with this for two years, including Mr Hoo-Hing’s family and wondering when there would be some closure in the criminal justice system.

‘This was a moment of inattention when the gentleman was in the middle of the road. It was at the exit to a supermarket and there were cars in every direction. It was a very fluid situation.’

Mr Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said the accident happened as Crocombe was leaving the supermarket after doing some shopping and was joining the road outside it, where he did not notice Mr Hoo-Hing crossing the road.

Crocombe told police he had been flashed by another car which let him out and he simply did not see the pedestrian.

The collision occurred at very low speed but left Mr Hoo-Hing with serious injuries and he died in hospital the next day.

Mr Hoo-Hing’s son Stephen had written a statement telling of the impact on the family and describing him as a much loved grandfather and father who was still enjoying life despite his age.

Mr Michael Brown, defending, said Crocombe wants to express his remorse and sorrow to Mr Hoo-Hing’s family and acknowledges the distress they have suffered.

He said the accident was caused by a moment of inattention which has already had serious consequences for Crocombe’s own mental health and is likely to lead to the loss of his job as a mechanical engineer.

He said: ‘This was not a deliberate act of negligence. He was not speeding. He stopped immediately and got out to help Mr Hoo-Hing.

‘The emotional impact on him has been devastating.

‘There is not a single day that goes by that he does not re-live that day and that moment. He is going to carry the guilt and shame for the rest of his life.’