A SOUTHAMPTON pensioner with poor eyesight has been banned from driving after a pedestrian he failed to spot and drove into died of his injuries six months later.

James Whitlock, 76, wasn’t paying enough attention when he hit Brian Smith as he crossed a road carrying shopping bags.

A female motorist following Whitlock’s Ford Fiesta spotted Mr Smith and was horrified when his car failed to brake in time and hit the pedestrian.

An eyesight test shortly after the incident revealed the former dock worker could not read a number plate at the required 20 metres, instead struggling to read one at 10.5 metres.

The crash took place on Wide Lane, Southampton, at dusk on Boxing Day 2017.

It left Mr Smith, also 76, with injuries which eventually killed him in June last year.

Whitlock was arrested and admitted one count of death by careless driving after Mr Smith’s death.

Rebecca Fairbairn, prosecuting, told Southampton Crown Court that motorist Charlotte Brogan was driving behind Whitlock’s red Y-reg Fiesta when she spotted Mr Smith stepping off the kerb.

She said: “She was travelling at about 30mph. She observed Brian Smith, who was also 76, crossing the road. He had just stepped off the kerb when she first saw him; he was carrying shopping bags.

“She thought the Fiesta would stop but it didn’t slow, it carried on.

“At this point there were six car lengths between her vehicle and the Fiesta.

“She saw the Fiesta braking suddenly before swerving and hitting Mr Smith, knocking him first onto the bonnet and then back down onto the ground.”

Ms Brogan and Whitlock both pulled over to check on Mr Smith and persuaded him to go to hospital, calling an ambulance.

Ms Fairbairn said: “He was talking, but repeatedly asking what had happened.

“The defendant repeatedly said ‘I didn’t see him, he just stepped out in front of me’.”

Mr Smith suffered two broken vertebrae and a small brain haemorrhage. He developed pneumonia in hospital and, after recovering from his wounds, later became infected. He died on June 24, 2018.

Mitigating, Karen Dempsey, said: “Whitlock informed us he had been going for six-monthly eye check-ups and had never been told he was not permitted to drive. He is devastated to learn of Mr Smith’s death – that has come as a great shock to him.

Judge Christopher Parker sentenced the father-of-two to a 60-hour community order and banned him from driving for four years.

He said: “At the end of it all, this can hardly be classified as a case of momentary inattention and Mr Smith died as a result of an accident that could have been avoidable if you were paying attention to what was going on in the road ahead of you.”