A speeding hit-and-run driver who mowed down a pensioner as she walked her dog has been jailed for five years.
Grandmother Kathleen Heslop was crossing the road with her pet dog Trudy when David Robinson drove into them, killing both.
A court heard Robinson was doing around 50mph in the 30 zone when he failed to see Mrs Heslop as she took Trudy for a walk near her home.
Despite his Saab 93’s windscreen being smashed in the impact, Robinson drove off in panic and tried to hide his car.
As the 27-year-old was locked up for five years, Mrs Heslop’s son, Marc, read a statement at his sentencing hearing under new provisions allowing victims and their families to have a say in court.
He said his mother was the “cornerstone” of the family and had played a huge role in helping him bring up his children after losing his wife to cancer.
Marc told Newcastle Crown Court: “My mam meant so much to me and my children. She was my cornerstone, especially following my personal tragedy which I endured when I was widowed at the age of 32.
“My mam was there for us all, ever supportive and always helping me with the children and basically helping me keep things together. I don’t know what I’d have done without her.
“To now lose the matriarch of the family under such circumstances has left my children and I devastated. I can’t explain how much I miss her and cannot come to terms with not being able to see her again.
“There has been a huge sense of loss, with an outcry in the local village due to this very tragic accident because my mam was well-known and loved by the whole community. She’d worked at the local paper mill, then at the local superstore until she left there three years ago at the age of 62 to enjoy a well-deserved and comfortable retirement, as we all strive to do.”
Marc said his mum had recently bought miniature German schnauzer Trudy and was looking forward to enjoying her retirement with the dog.
He said: “Together they were inseparable, and this was right up to the end when both my mam and her beloved Trudy were killed together on that fateful night. At least I can think about them both being rested together now.”
Mrs Heslop, 64, who lived on Eastwoods Road, Prudhoe, had taken Trudy for a walk after 10pm on a Saturday in July.
She was crossing the B6395 Stonyflat Bank, near her home, and had been in the road six seconds by the time Robinson’s car hit her, and the court heard he should have seen her.
Afterwards,he drove off from the scene and didn’t even ring for an ambulance.
With his vision impaired by the smashed windscreen, Robinson tried to hide his car in a garage, then finally dumped it on farmland owned by his employer.
The court heard he was also without insurance at the time, although this was down to an oversight.
Robinson, of Woodhead Road, Prudhoe, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition and having no insurance. He was banned for five years.
Geoff Knowles, defending, said the crash happened near to where the speed limit changes from 30 to 60mph. The barrister added that dad-of-one Robinson, a farm hand, was ashamed, remorseful, thinks about the accident every day and is usually a caring family man.