A WAGON driver has been cleared of driving dangerously and causing the death of a popular teacher on a rural Tynedale road.

At Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday, Andrew John Reed (27), of Westmacott Street, Ridsdale, was found not guilty of causing the death of Scottish teacher Isabel Gilchrist and a separate charge of causing serious injury to her husband Daniel Gilchrist by dangerous driving.

The jury had also been asked to consider an alternative charge of death by careless driving, which they also found Mr Reed not guilty of.

During the week-long trial, the court heard Mr Reed hit the Gilchrists, who were on a motorbike, with his tipper truck as he reversed to allow a vehicle heading in the opposite direction to pass on the narrow C200 road at Kielder on June 25, 2018.

The Gilchrists were in the blind spot of his mirrors, and he did not see them, Mr Reed told the jury.

The prosecution had argued that Mr Reed should have exited his vehicle to check his blind spot, but Mr Reed, giving evidence, said he believed he did all he could to check it was safe to move, regularly checking his mirrors and manoeuvring his vehicle in a snaking motion to maximise the sight in his mirrors.

Summing up the case, judge Penny Moreland called the incident a “tragedy” and said: “This is a case which is bound to provoke an emotional reaction in those who hear about it.”

She told them: “The issue for you is whether you are sure that Andrew Reed drove dangerously or carelessly that day.

“The defence says he did nothing wrong.

“The prosecution say that the way he drove was dangerous or at the very least careless because his checks were insufficient.”

Mr Reed had pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice relating to the incident at an earlier hearing and will be sentenced for that charge at Newcastle Crown Court on May 15.