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Charity worker sentenced to community order
A 63-year-old charity worker whose “momentary loss of attention” led him to knock down and fatally injure an 87-year-old great-grandmother has been sentenced to a 12-month community order.
Ferenc Barczar was driving a Ford Transit van at low speed at the junction of Otley Road and Killinghall Road, Bradford, when he struck widow Margaret Long on December 23 last year, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.
Mrs Long, a grandmother-of-six, of Undercliffe , Bradford, died in hospital of a head injury six days later.
Prosecutor Paul Nicholson told the Crown Court that Mrs Long was “unlikely” to have had the crossing lights in her favour when she was struck at 11.35am when walking across Killinghall Road.
Barczar was turning right into Killinghall Road when the lights were on green in his favour.
His solicitor advocate, Nigel Jamieson, said he had “an unblemished 40- year driving record”.
He had done what he could to help at the scene and all his concerns were still for Mrs Long’s family.
He had returned to the crash site “numerous times” trying to work out why he did not see her.
Barczar had taken a slightly diagonal line that perhaps led to Mrs Long being hidden by his windscreen column.
References handed to Judge David Hatton QC showed him to be a man of “exceptionally good character.”.
Judge Hatton said Barczar was taking “a perfectly lawful path”.
“This was a tragic accident in the purest sense,” he said.
“Mrs Long’s family have dealt with this tragedy with courageous and commendable dignity,” Judge Hatton said.
The collision was “a momentary loss of attention” by “a truly good and honest man”.
Barczar’s community order includes 120 hours’ unpaid work. He was banned from driving for 12 months.
After the case, Mrs Long’s son Raymond said they forgave Barczar and wanted him to move on with his life.
Mrs Long, who was born in Grangemouth, Scotland, worked as a nanny for a cousin of the Queen and turned down a post of looking after the Viceroy of Australia’s children during the Second World War to serve as a Wren.
During the war, she married Ernest Long, of Bradford.
The mother of three children, Mrs Long worked at English Electric, Undercliffe, then at Dorothy Grange's sweet and ice cream shop at the top of Otley Road before being employed alongside Ken Morrison at his first supermarket on Bolton Road.
Widowed 20 years ago, she led an active life enjoying the Women's Guild and going out walking with friends.