A DRIVER who was busy clearing condensation from his windscreen hit and killed an elderly pedestrian as he crossed the road.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Brian Evans did not see 82-year-old Muhammad Khan as he crossed Blackburn Road as the pensioner was on his way to attend early morning prayers.

The driver did not stop and carried onto work, later telling police that he only though he had hit street furniture.

Evans, aged 48, of Musgrave Road, Heaton, subsequently pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and failing to stop after an accident.

Gavin Howie, prosecuting, told the court how devout Mr Khan, a father-of-four and grandfather-of-nine, prayed five times a day at a mosque and was making his way there at around 6am on October 27 last year when he was hit by Evans’ VW Golf.

The impact threw him 11 metres along the road and passers-by stopped to help him until paramedics could arrive.

He died in hospital 11 days later from his injuries.

Mr Howie said the day of the accident was frosty and it was dark but the road was well lit.

After the collision glass from a nearside headlight cluster was found in the road and police investigators concluded that Mr Khan, who walked with a stick, would have been visible in the road for at least 6.68 seconds before he was hit.

The court heard that Mr Khan had almost completed crossing Blackburn Road near Canning Street when he was struck a “glancing blow” by the front passenger side of the Golf ,which was travelling north.

“The misting of the windscreen appears to be a factor in why he [Evans] failed to see Mr Khan as he crossed the road,” said Mr Howie.

“There was more than enough time to have stopped the vehicle had he seen him.”

Mr Howie added that Evans, who was described as a married family man, had set off from home seven or eight minutes earlier, but his windscreen was misted and he was wiping it as he drove.

The Highway Code states that windows should be completely clear before a vehicle is moved.

Following the collision Evans continued onto work and only saw the extent of the damage to his car, which included a broken headlight, cracked windscreen and dented bonnet, when he arrived.

“He knew he had hit something. He should have stopped but he didn’t,” said Neil Addison, defending.

“He did not realise it was a person he had hit.”

Mr Addison added that Evans is of good character and has no previous convictions.

“He is not the type of person who would have left a person there at the side of the road,” he said.

Later that morning, when Evans heard that a man had been injured in a collision, he handed himself in at Bolton police station.

“He has shown remorse and lived with the fear of imprisonment,” said Mr Addison.

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton Judge Timothy Clayson was told that Indian-born Mr Khan previously owned a takeaway and was a devout man who prayed several times a day.

“He was well known and well respected throughout the community,” said Mr Howie.

In statements handed to the judge, Mr Khan’s family said they did not blame the car driver for his death and have shown a level of forgiveness.

Judge Clayson praised the family saying that he reads many victim statements.

“But rarely are statements as considered and forgiving as the family members of Mr Khan,” he said.

Judge Clayson said he accepted Evans’ remorse is genuine and spared him an immediate jail sentence.

Instead Evans was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months and he was ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.

Evans was also banned from holding a driving licence for 18 months.