A “CALLOUS” truck driver who raced away from the scene after running over an 86-year-old great-grandmother who died hours later lost his appeal against his prison sentence.

Sheila Skuse had just enjoyed Sunday lunch with a group of friends in Brynmawr when John Smith reversed his faulty Ford Transit Tipper over her, Newport Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Lowri Wynn Morgan told how the victim was with her six companions in a lane behind the Market Hall Cinema when she was struck.

Judge Neil Bidder QC heard how Mrs Skuse was walking with the aid of a wheeled frame when she was hit on the afternoon of June 24, 2018.

Miss Wynn Morgan said: “The vehicle reversed and struck her to her back, knocking her to the floor. The rear wheels went over her.

“The driver got out before leaving the scene without providing any details.

“Mrs Skuse was taken by air ambulance to the University Hospital of Wales where she passed away later that day from the injuries sustained.”

She had died of multiple fractures.

Smith, aged 30, of Blaenant Road, Nantyglo, was jailed for 26 weeks at Newport Magistrates’ Court last month after he was convicted, following a trial, of failing to stop and using a defective vehicle.

He was back in court to appeal his sentence and during the hearing, Mrs Skuse’s daughter Kerry Hickman read out a powerful victim impact statement.

She said: “My mother had moved back to her birthplace of Brynmawr and was the happiest she had been in many years.

“She was a gregarious lady and going out for Sunday lunch had become part of her routine. Six of these friends were with my mother when the collision occurred.”

She added: “For those of us who made it to the hospital and who were subjected to watch her die in pain, the broken image of her face is imprinted on our minds forever.

"The sound of her laboured breathing, as she lay dying, has woken us up with tears in our eyes.

"The thought of her lying on the ground, terrified, as she watched the truck reverse over her fills us with a deep, heart-wrenching sadness.

“Of course the other victims here are the elderly ladies with whom she had lunched that Sunday. Many had known her since childhood.

“They were forced to watch as she was knocked over and then witness the driver backing over her and race away whilst they were shouting at him, through the open windows of the cab, to stop.”

Miss Wynn Morgan told the court that Smith’s truck was found by police to be in a “dangerous condition”.

The reverse lights weren’t working, a tyre was under inflated and its wing mirrors were wrongly adjusted.

Smith also had a previous conviction for drink-driving and failing to stop.

Kevin Seal, mitigating, said: “It is right to say that none of the vehicle’s defects contributed to the tragedy that took place that day.”

He added: “Nobody would wish to turn the clock back more than John Smith.”

Mr Seal said his client, a father-of-four, was remorseful and had cried when he discovered Mrs Skuse had died.

Dismissing the appeal, Judge Bidder said: “The defendant showed remarkable callousness in leaving an elderly lady on the floor.

“He had run this lady over and reversing over her caused her serious multiple injuries which led to her death.

After her death, Mrs Skuse's family released a tribute saying: "Sheila was a warm and welcoming lady with a ready smile for everyone.

"She was a mother of two children, a nan to seven grandchildren and great grandmother to four children.

"She had recently moved back to her birthplace of Brynmawr, where she reconnected with old friends and made many new friends as a resident of Wesley House.

"For many years Sheila lived in Blaenavon, where she will be remembered for running Skuse's off-licence with her husband, Stan.

"She was still active in her later years as a keen member of Blaenavon Bowls Club, winning many trophies with her team, and could often be found attending pub quizzes.

"Up until the time she moved she was an active parishioner of St Paul’s Church in Blaenavon.

"Sheila lived a long, full life but was tragically taken away from us. She was deeply loved and her passing has left a chasm in our lives."