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Maidenhead cemetery death driver sentenced

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A 95-year-old woman who knocked over and killed a cemetery worker on Valentine's Day has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Gertrude Lister, who had been tending her husband's grave in Maidenhead, accidentally hit the accelerator, careering into 47-year-old Paul Mills.

Mr Mills' wife Tracey stormed out of court when Mrs Lister's 16-month jail term was suspended for two years.

Mrs Lister had arrived at court with her suitcase packed for prison.

'Just took off'

Judge Paul Dugdale said she had suffered a case of "unintended acceleration" which had had devastating consequences for Mr Mills' family.

Mrs Lister told the police "the car just took off" after hitting a verge when she tried to avoid a parked lorry, before crashing through a hedge and careering across a car park.

Mr Mills died just over an hour later from his injuries.

Reading Crown Court heard that Mrs Lister, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, was "sorry from the bottom of her heart".

Her barrister Richard Shepherd said: "When somebody like Mrs Lister, born in 1922 says that, she means it."

Judge Dugdale described the case as utterly tragic and one that had had a devastating effect on the Mills family.

He added: "The reality is there is nothing this court can do that will alleviate their loss and that is just so very unfair."

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