A VAN driver hit and killed a pensioner because the satnav stuck to his windscreen obscured his view.

Great-grandmother Phyllis Fielding died when delivery driver Nicholas Tombs collided with her as she crossed Lawnswood Road, Wordsley.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court, Tombs, aged 32, was spared time behind bars after he admitted causing death by careless driving.

Lee Marklew, for Tombs, said the tragic death of the 88-year-old was the result of a "freakishly unlucky accident" that was down to negligence rather than momentary inattention.

He said his client had fixed the satnav to the windscreen of his Mercedes Sprinter van and he "unwittingly created an impediment to his view of the road."

Tombs, of Grove Crescent, Brierley Hill, had since struggled with causing the death of the pensioner and he was at a loss to explain how on an "ordinary" day and he taken her life and taken her away from her loved ones.

Mr Marklew added that experts had agreed the placing of the navigation system on the windscreen of the van could have obscured his view.

Mrs Fielding - described as being very agile for her age and a "rock" for every member of her family - had just visited the hairdressers and she was sent flying when she was hit by the van.

Neil Ahuja, prosecuting, said Tombs had failed to see Mrs Fielding who was wearing a bright red coat when she should have been clearly visible if he had been paying proper attention to the road.

He said Tombs, who was making deliveries for his employer Iceland, was driving at just 19mph and he told police officers afterwards he had braked as quickly as he could but "it was too late."

Tombs was given an 18-month community order with a rehabilitation programme.

Judge James Burbidge QC further ordered him to carry out 250 hours unpaid work in the community and disqualified him from driving for two years.

He told Tombs he should have been able to see Mrs Fielding as she crossed the road adding: "You positioned the navigation system and it is likely it caused an area of obstruction - a blindspot."

The judge said Mrs Fielding was a woman who was very well-known in the area, she had been central to the lives of her family and her death had caused them "great pain."

He said it was clear that Tombs' ability to see everything in front of him had been reduced by the siting of the navigation device in his vehicle.

In a victim impact statement Mrs Fielding's daughter, Elaine Capewell, said she was a caring, loving and wonderful mother who was her best friend.

She said the tragedy had left her feeling as though her heart had been ripped from her chest adding, "She was one amazing lady who was still very active and very mobile."

"She was a friend to everyone and everyone who knew her loved her," said Mrs Capewell while her grandchildren said she was the bricks and mortar that built the family.

"Everyone in the community knew her name, in a moment of lost concentration we have lost someone who was the heart of our family."