Eastbourne pensioner, 87, banned from driving after 'lapse' led to tragic death of her friend

The collision happened on the A22 near the Gleneagles roundabout in Hailsham. Picture: Google Streetview
The collision happened on the A22 near the Gleneagles roundabout in Hailsham. Picture: Google Streetview

An 87-year-old woman who caused the death of her friend in a crash after a ‘lapse’ has been spared jail.

Her friend Gloria Rosato was seriously injured in a collision on the A22 near Hailsham in April last year.

She had been the front seat passenger and was rushed to Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, but sadly died a week later. She was 86.

Ella Charlesworth, of Dominica Court in Eastbourne, was found guilty this afternoon of causing death by careless driving.

Speaking at Hove Crown Court, prosecutor Oliver Dunkin said: “These proceedings were about a recognition of that lapse which led to the death of Mrs Rosato, and to an extent that is all they were about.”

He asked that Charlesworth be banned from driving but said there was ‘no desire for revenge’.

He also cited her otherwise ‘exemplary driving record’, age and good character.

Mrs Rosato died after the Ford Puma she was a passenger in – being driven by Charlesworth – collided with a Jeep Cherokee near the Gleneagles roundabout just before 5pm on April 19, last year, police said.

Ms Tate, defending Charlesworth, said: “The biggest punishment in all of this is Ms Rosato and her said death and that weighs very heavily on Ms Charlesworth.

“Whatever punishment the court gives, the overwhelming punishment that Ms Charlesworth lives with is that punishment of her friend’s death.”

She asked that any driving ban be as short as possible because her client has felt ‘isolated’ since she has not been able to drive.

Judge Christine Henson gave Charlesworth a conditional discharge for 12 months.

She was banned from driving for 18 months and must pay £3,500 prosecution costs.