A delivery driver has been cleared of causing the death of a four-year-old girl by dangerous driving following an emotionally charged trial.
Sixty-two-year-old Peter Williams held his head in his hands and wept as the jury returned its not guilty verdict at Liverpool Crown Court today (March 22).
Little Esme Weir was riding a scooter to pre-school along the pavement of Gladstone Road in Neston when she was struck by the Ford Transit pickup van Mr Williams was driving on January 15 last year.
Mr Williams, of Poulton Road in Wallasey, hit Esme as he mounted the pavement to make a delivery of wood and then ran over her.
Her pregnant mum Jessica Weir was walking behind her and saw the devastating tragedy unfold.
The youngster, who was from Neston, was rushed to Arrowe Park Hospital but sadly died as a result of multiple serious injuries.
Army veteran Mr Williams, who worked for Neston Building Supplies, has always maintained he never saw Esme.
He told the court during his three-day trial he drove at around 10mph down the narrow road, which had cars parked on either side, then saw a space to park.
He said he slowed down to stop, indicated, checked his side mirror, then drove on to the pavement so his van didn’t block the road.
Mr Williams denied that the accident happened because he failed to look properly, saying: “Where that little girl came from, I don’t know.”
Earlier in the trial, Mrs Weir sobbed as she described how she saw the wheel of the van hit her little girl’s Disney scooter – which she received as a birthday present – and go ‘right over her’.
Giving evidence, Mr Williams said he had not slept properly since and told the court: “I won’t be driving anymore. Not after that tragic accident.”
The jury spent just over three hours deliberating before returning their not guilty verdict.