A delivery driver who knocked over and killed a four-year-old girl as she scooted along a pavement has been cleared of causing her death by dangerous driving.
After a jury returned their verdict after three hours deliberations Peter Williams broke down his tears holding his head down at the front of the dock.
Disbelieving female supporters of the little girl’s family also broke down in tears in the public gallery.
62-year-old Williams, of Poulton Road, Wallasey, Wirral, was discharged from the dock.
During the two and a half day trial the jury heard that Williams, who had been delivering wood in a Ford Transit tipper van, had been mounting the pavement when the accident happened.
He told a jury at Liverpool Crown Court that despite checking his mirrors he had not seen the girl, Esme Weir.
The former Army veteran also told how he has not driven since and does not intend to do so and has not slept properly either.
The jury heard that the tragedy happened as Esme was scooting along Gladstone Road, Neston, with her pregnant mum Jessica walking behind as they headed to pre-school just before noon on January 15 last year.
Her mum told the court that shortly beforehand Williams, who was waiting to cross a junction at the top of the road, waved them across and she waved thanks to him.
“The van drove past me. I didn’t think anything about it. Esme was going ahead and the van came round into the gap and went up on the kerb. Esme was slightly ahead of the van.
“I started to run because I realised what could happen. I dropped my bags and ran. I hit the back of the van. I saw the wheel hit the scooter at the back which made her fall and the wheel went right over her. I couldn’t get there in time,”
Williams told the jury of seven women and five men that when he mounted the pavement so as not to block the road he did not see anyone on it.
He said he drove down Gladstone Road, where there were cars parked on both sides, at 10 mph and then saw a space big enough to park in on his left hand side opposite the house where he was to deliver timber.
Williams said that he “slowed to a stop, indicated and checked my mirrors and drove onto the pavement. I heard a lady screaming and I got out the van to see what had happened and there was little girl on the floor.
“I went to help her. I had blood al over my hands and the mother picked the little girl up and carried her across the road and took her into somebody’s house.”
Paramedics and hospital medics tried to save Esme but she had suffered fatal traumatic multiple injuries.