A PENSIONER killed her close friend after reversing into her and then plunging forward over her after they had just been to an art class together.

Former florist Carol White, 73, hit 62-year-old retired Abergavenny teacher Barbara Calligan as Ms Calligan helped her back her Subaru Impreza out of a disabled parking space.

Prosecutor Jason Howells said it was a “very tragic and upsetting case” and played a CCTV recording of the incident to Cardiff Crown Court.

Ms Calligan was described as “a wonderful woman and loving mother” during moving statements and who died as a result of her injuries.

At her sentencing hearing, it emerged that White had been suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at the time of the crash.

She was handed a suspended jail sentence after admitting causing the death of her friend by dangerous driving at Hillcrest Road in Abergavenny in March 2018.

Mr Howells read impact statements to the court made by the victim’s two children.

Her son Andrew Calligan said: “My whole world has been turned upside down. She was a kind, fun and uplifting person to be around.”

The prosecutor added: “He describes her as being his anchor, his torch and compass. He says he has contemplated taking his own life.”

Daughter Isobel Calligan said her mother was born in Blaina and studied English at Aston University before training to be a teacher.

The court heard how she married her aerospace engineer husband David and they moved as a family to the US in the 1980s with his work.

Although the couple divorced and she came back to live in Wales with her children in the 1990s, they still remained a close family.

Isobel said: “Barbara was very intelligent and hilarious.”

Jeffrey Jones, mitigating, said: “Doctors concluded that the onset of dementia would have contributed to this offence.”

The court was told the defendant had contacted the DVLA prior to Ms Calligan’s death to express concerns about her health but was passed fit to drive after an assessment.

Her barrister said White, of Brynhonddu, Pandy, Llanvihangel Crucorney, near Abergavenny, was described as “kind-hearted, softly spoken and respectful”.

She had no previous convictions.

Mr Jones said White had shown “genuine remorse and upset” for her friend’s death.

The Recorder of Cardiff, Judge Eleri Rees, told the defendant: “This was an appalling incident and you struck the victim twice as she tried to assist you.”

She added: “In moving tributes, she was described as a wonderful woman, a loving and caring mother.”

The judge said that because this was such an “unusual case” she could hold back from sending White into immediate custody.

The defendant was jailed for 16 months, suspended for 12 months, and banned from driving for life.

She must also pay £1,200 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £140.