A VAN driver who caused the death of a great-grandad in a fatal crash near Belsay has spared prison.

Malcolm Harrison pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday September 10, and was sentenced to a community order with 100 hours unpaid work and a 12-month driving ban.

A court heard 84-year-old Thomas Gill, was heading towards Ponteland in his VW Golf on December 2, 2016 when Harrison crashed into him on the A696, near Belsay.

Harrison of West Thorn, Kirkley, was driving a Volkswagen Transport and had no chance of avoiding a collision when he pulled out in front of Mr Gill.

Mr Gill, a former marine engineer, from Newcastle, was heading south on the A696 around 2.50pm after visting a cafe at Bolam Lake.

His car hit the van, became airborne, rolled over and landed in the path of another car in the opposite direction.

He died at the scene from head injuries and fractures.