Bus driver sentenced over death by careless driving of retired Harlow teacher

Crime / Sat 22nd Jan 2022 at 07:15am

A BUS driver has been given a community order after admitting causing the death of a passenger by careless driving.

Christopher Balding, 39, pleaded guilty the charge following the death of 73-year-old John Childs in Harlow, Essex in May 2019.

Mr Childs lost his balance and fell through the open door of the bus after Balding failed to apply the handbrake, a court previously heard.

Balding was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge David Turner QC sentenced Balding to an 18-month community order with conditions during a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The court previously heard how Mr Childs, who used a walking stick, remonstrated with Balding when the bus did not stop where he was expecting it to due to roadworks in Howard Way in Harlow.

Michael Shaw, prosecuting, said Mr Childs rose from his seat and appeared “not best pleased” the bus had not stopped where he thought it should.

He said the doors opened and the bus “lurched” forward while Mr Child’s was standing in the gangway, prompting the passenger to “topple” out of the door.

The pensioner suffered a brain injury in the incident on 3 May died in hospital nine days later.

Mr Shaw said the handbrake was not applied when the bus stopped. He added the driver’s foot came off the brake, causing the bus to move forwards, which prompted Mr Childs to lose his balance.

He added that when the bus moved forward, Balding braked again causing the bus to “jolt to a stop”.

Balding told police he did not remember using the handbrake, and suggested his foot may have come off the brake as he turned towards Mr Childs.

As part of the community order, Balding must complete 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement, 200 hours of unpaid work and have his licence endorsed with six points.

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3 Comments for Bus driver sentenced over death by careless driving of retired Harlow teacher:

2022-01-22 14:58:46

I had a horrendous journey with a friend on the 724 going to Hatfield Galleria, the driver was talking and turning round, not concentrating, my friend and I were thrown forward, both of us had injuries. Reported it to Arriva, had an email back then nothing, as we went into lockdown. I was assured that there would be a follow up, was given an incident number, nothing has happened, mentality of Arriva Managermanship. That was over 2years ago.

David Hughes
2022-01-23 11:28:59

I think that most of the bus drivers in Harlow started their careers in bumper cars

Sara Ringsell
2022-01-23 22:10:10

It's not the drivers at all, 99% of the time it's the passengers either distracting the driver or moaning (loudly), that stops the driver doing his job. At the end of the day, get on the bus, smile, and stop to think, they are doing their job.. you would all moaning if you couldn't get from a to b , so please be grateful and not moany

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