A PENSIONER has been found not guilty of causing serious injury to two women by dangerous driving following a Lakes road horror smash.

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court heard about the “dreadful consequences” of a head-on, two-vehicle collision on the A591 at Thirlmere in July, 2015.

Anthony Lonton, 78, was driving a Kia Cee’d which veered into the path of an oncoming Seat Altea at 5.30pm.

His passenger and friend, Sybil Parker, suffered a “catalogue” of injuries and was detained in hospital for two months.

And 38 weeks’ pregnant Seat passenger Rebecca Pattinson lost the baby daughter she was carrying.

Experts concluded the most plausible cause of the crash was Mr Lonton falling asleep at the wheel.

Giving evidence during his trial, Mr Lonton accepted he must have done, “momentarily, for a micro-second”.

But he described the painstaking attempts he made in the months after the crash to discover why that happened. He underwent an ECG, blood tests, a CT scan and respiratory testing.

“I asked for them because after the accident I wanted to know whether there was any underlying cause as to why, at least, it appeared to me I fell asleep. I wanted to get medical opinion on whether there was any other possible explanation,” he told the jury.

He agreed the crash was “quite clearly my fault”, and accepted Seat driver, Gareth Pattinson, was “totally innocent”.

But in evidence, retired academic Mr Lonton “very strongly” disagreed with the prosecution’s accusation that he drove that day despite knowing he was too tired to do so safely.

An active and healthy man of good character, Mr Lonton, of Carriage Drive, Windermere, denied two charges alleging that he caused serious injury to the two females by dangerous driving.

A jury of six men and six women found him not guilty of both allegations having heard all evidence in the case.

In response to the jury’s verdicts, Judge James Adkin said: “Thank you, Mr Lonton, you may leave the court.”

Judge Adkin took time to thank members of the jury for their work on what called a “difficult case”.