Harrogate family’s fight for elderly driver to be prosecuted

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A family’s fight to see the elderly woman who knocked down their mother brought before the courts has forced a review by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Ninety-one year old Barbara Hoyes, described by her four children as a “truly remarkable woman”, was killed as she crossed the road outside her Forest Moor Road home in June last year.

The 87-year-old driver was arrested at the scene, but prosecutors decided not to press charges as the only sentence they could impose would be a nominal fine.

Her family have fought for months against this decision, saying ‘justice must be seen to be done’.

And yesterday, just minutes before an inquest into Mrs Hoyes’ death was due to begin, the CPS agreed to review the case.

“My sincere condolences to the victim’s family for their tragic loss,” said Barbara Petchey, deputy chief crown prosecutor for CPS North and West Yorkshire after halting the inquest at Harrogate Magistrates Court.

“The bereaved family is entitled to have the original decision to discontinue the case reviewed. We will do so in accordance with our policy.”

Mrs Hoyes’ son Steve, speaking outside Harrogate Magistrates Court yesterday as the inquest was adjourned until June, said: “We are very pleased that the review is going to be heard.

“It’s what we’ve fought for. We only hope it comes to a sensible conclusion.”

Mrs Hoyes, who had lived on Forest Moor Road for 55 years, was described by her son as always active, walking, hiking, and keeping up with her seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

She was hugely involved with Holy Trinity Church in Knaresborough, he said, and renowned for the pies she would serve at coffee morning - baked with apples from her own garden.

“Most people in town seemed to know her,” he said. “The church was full to the rafters at the funeral.”

She remained active until her death on June 15 last year, when she was killed after getting off a bus near her home.

Her death, said her son, was a “terrible blow” to her husband of 66 years, Michael, who died just six months later.

“Elderly drivers who cause accidents or death should be prosecuted,” said Mr Hoyes. “We would appeal to all elderly drivers - and their families - to consider this case carefully.

“It is apparent that some older people continue to drive beyond the time when they ought to have stopped. If that person happens to cause an accident or injury, he or she is going to have to live with that.”