Jurors have started their deliberations in the trial of a pensioner accused of causing the death by careless driving of a baby boy, who was in a pram being pushed along the pavement by his mother.
Shelagh Robertson, 75, was driving home from a shopping trip to Tesco when she turned into the path of an oncoming van on the A10 at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire on January 22 last year, Cambridge Crown Court heard.
The van collided with Robertson’s car, forcing the van onto the pavement where it hit Rachael Thorold and her five-month-old son Louis Thorold, killing him and throwing Mrs Thorold into the air, causing serious injuries.
Robertson, of Stables Yard, Waterbeach, denies causing the infant’s death by careless driving, with her defence team arguing that she is not guilty by reason of insanity as she had undiagnosed dementia at the time.
James Leonard, defending, told the trial it was “obvious” Robertson’s driving “fell below the standard of a reasonable and competent driver”.
But he said that Robertson was “ill-equipped to negotiate” the junction due to her dementia, and she was unaware of this as she was undiagnosed at the time.
Prosecutor David Matthew said in his closing speech: “There’s no doubt here that Shelagh Robertson is suffering from a form of dementia and was suffering from it in January 2021.”
But he raised the question of “where on the slope of dementia Shelagh Robertson was in January 2021”.
The judge, Mark Bishop, told jurors that to return a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity they must be satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, Robertson had dementia at the time and either did not know what she was doing or did not know that what she was doing was wrong.
He said that this “doesn’t include a momentary failure to concentrate”.
The judge told jurors, as he sent them out to begin their deliberations on Thursday: “You are under no pressure of time to reach your decision.”
The trial, which is in its fourth day, continues.