An 82-year-old woman killed her best friend in a “tragic” parking blunder after a school reunion.
Joyce Nainby was standing by the side of Patricia Tulip’s car when her friend mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brake.
The 80-year-old was hit by the open car door and knocked unconscious. She died of a head injury 10 days later.
Tulip admitted causing death by careless driving and was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Newcastle Crown Court was told the pair had gone to school together about 70 years ago and had been best friends.
The pair had just returned from a reunion when Tulip parked the car outside Mrs Nainby’s home in Gosforth, Newcastle, and had to jump back in when it started to roll backwards.
But instead of braking, she accidentally pressed the accelerator and hit the grandmother of six.
The defendant, who wept in court, felt a “great deal of remorse” for the accident on 18 September 2018 and had written a letter of condolence to the family, the court heard.
Witnesses said Tulip, of Seghill, Northumberland, was a trusted and competent motorist with many years’ experience.
In addition to the community order, she was banned from driving for three years but the court heard she had voluntarily given up her licence.
Judge Amanda Rippon said the loss had “completely devastated” the Nainby family.
“As a result of a series of careless errors, your car very sadly became the implement responsible for your old and great friend’s tragic death,” she said.
“There is no sentence that I can give that will bring back Joyce Nainby for her family, or for you.”