A HAMPSHIRE driver accused of causing the deaths of a paramedic and patient in a horrific ambulance crash has spoken of his relief at being cleared.

Richard Husband, 26, didn’t see or hear the vehicle – which was being driven by 42-year-old Gillian Randall – as it overtook his Seat Alhambra on the A337 Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst road last year.

He then attempted to overtake a silver Skoda Yeti that had pulled over to allow the vehicle to safely pass, the court was told.

It took a jury of seven women and five men six hours and three minutes to reach a verdict of not guilty on two counts of causing death by careless driving.

The decision comes after a five-day trial at the court before Judge John Harrow.

There were gasps and sobs from the packed public gallery as the verdicts were delivered.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Husband said: “Whilst I am of course relieved by the jury’s verdicts, on this day my thoughts remain with those who lost their lives and were injured in the accident, as well as their friends and family.

“I would like to thank my own family and friends for their unceasing support during this very difficult time.”

Prosecutors at Bournemouth Crown Court had alleged that Husband, of New Forest Drive, Brockenhurst, had failed to check his mirror before pulling out into the path of the ambulance, which the defendant denied.

He also said he had not been distracted by music played through the car’s speakers by three teenagers who were in the vehicle at the time of the collision.

During his evidence, he told the court that he had checked his right wing mirror, although added: “I didn’t check my rear view mirror. I didn’t check my blind spot.”

Francis Ironside, 88, who was being rushed to Southampton General Hospital at the time of the collision, and paramedic Ms Randall were both killed after the ambulance struck a tree.

Mr Ironside’s 64-year-old son David, who was travelling in the back of the ambulance, and paramedic Richard Riley, 32, also suffered serious injuries.