Driver who caused fatal crash because he was distracted by a spider avoids jail

David Harding
Edvinas Gilius

A motorist 'distracted by a spider' has avoided jail after he crashed into a pedestrian crossing and killed a 58-year-old woman, a court heard.

Edvinas Gilius, 31, said he was trying to swipe away the spider dangling from his car roof as he attempted to turn right at a busy road junction.

However, he lost control of his Mercedes-Benz C220 which then mounted the pavement and struck the pedestrian crossing pole head-on.

The pole fell on Janet Cawood, 58, who had been waiting to cross the road in the centre of Bradford, West Yorks, on August 3 last year.

Edvinas Gilius at Bradford Crown Court (SWNS)

Lithuanian national Gilius, of Bradford, West Yorks., escaped jail today and was handed a 12-month community order at Bradford Crown Court.

Gilius, who came over to the UK ten years ago, pleaded guilty to causing death by driving without due care and attention last month.

Gilnius was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years and told to pay £320 in court costs.

Emergency services on the scene following the tragedy (SWNS)

In an emotional victim impact statement read out in court from sister Sally Cawood, she said: “My sister was cheated of her retirement and the things she planned to do. Janet had worked hard throughout her life.

“I just keep thinking of her on the pavement and feel guilty that I couldn't help her, I was powerless to help my sister.

“Janet was fully fit and healthy and to see her body broken and maimed at the hospital, sent me into shock.

She added: “Even though I did not see the accident, I visualise it all the time. I could not help her. I could not say goodbye.

“The driver made Janet suffer indignities and lose her life and my suffering will continue. He has broken both of us in differing ways.”

Edvinas Gilius pleaded guilty and avoided jail (SWNS)

Prosecuting, Jonathan Sharp told the court Miss Cawood was struck by the pedestrian crossing post and Gilius' car.

Gilnius had six penalty points on his licence for speeding offences at the time of the crash in August last year.

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Mitigating, Philip Morris told a court the defendant has shown heartfelt remorse and has not driven since the accident.

Passing down the sentence, Judge Jonathan Gibson told Gilius that “you should have slowed or if necessary stopped and should have certainly kept your eyes on the road. You didn't and the consequences were fatal”.

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