AN 80-year old whose careless driving led to a five-car smash which killed a man on a road near Burford has been spared jail.

Diana Blunden, of Farm Hill Road, Waltham Abbey, had denied the single count of causing death by careless driving.

In a last minute turnaround and less than a week before her trial was set to start she admitted the charge at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

The court heard how on November 27 at about 12.30pm she had been driving a Ford Focus northbound on the A424 from Burford to Stow-On-The-Wold, Gloucestershire.

Three cars were ahead of her and the lead car slowed suddenly and indicated to turn towards Idbury.

This caused the second car, a BMW, to apply brakes, in turn slowing down the third car - a Citroen C3, and driven by 57-year old John Fouracre from Stow-On-The-Wold.

Blunden, despite having 'sufficient distance and visibility,' the court heard, slammed into the back of Mr Fouracre’s car at 53mph shunting him into an oncoming Nissan pickup. Mr Fouracre died from multiple injuries.

Sentencing Blunden yesterday Judge Peter Ross said: “You are a woman of 80 years of hitherto impeccable character but the day of these appalling, serious events you changed the lives of many.

"You ended the life of one man, Mr Fouracre. There is nothing I can say, there is nothing I can do which will turn the clock back."

Blunden was given a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years and must pay costs of £1,500.

She was also disqualified from driving for four years and must take an extended driving test after this.