Tuesday 21 August 2018

Bus driver admits killing mother-of-four in crash in last-minute change of plea

A police car sits at Lisburn Bus Station following the death of Linda Stewart who was struck by a bus
A police car sits at Lisburn Bus Station following the death of Linda Stewart who was struck by a bus

A bus driver has admitted the manslaughter of a mother-of-four who was knocked down and killed in Lisburn in a last-minute change of plea.

James Johnston, from Killowen Grange, Lisburn, had initially denied the charges and was due to stand trial at Craigavon Crown Court where he faced one charge of manslaughter.

Linda Stewart (48) died after an Ulsterbus mounted a kerb and hit a wall at the bus station in Lisburn’s Smithfield Street in December 2014.

The 34-year-old accused, dressed a dark suit, sat metres away from members of Ms Stewart’s family.

Before yesterday’s trial was due to get underway, his barrister asked for the charge to be put to his client again.

He was re-arraigned of the one count of manslaughter to which he pleaded guilty.

Some of Ms Stewart’s family wiped away tears as he admitted to her killing.

The court heard that Johnston drove the bus into the Lisburn bus station. The passengers got off the bus followed by Johnston, however the bus drove forward and hit Ms Stewart.

The case was adjourned until June 19 for a pre-sentence report.

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