East Sussex-based independent Jempson’s has been found guilty of  breaching health and safety law following a serious accident in its Peasmarsh store car park in which a woman lost her leg.

Patricia Cox was walking across the store’s car park in January 2013 when she was hit by a delivery lorry.

The vehicle was in the process of trying to reverse into the store’s delivery yard when it hit Cox - who later had to have her leg amputated. 

According to evidence from logistics firms, the store’s delivery yard was “cluttered” and the access road to it was narrowed by cars parked on double yellow lines, meaning lorries had to reverse into the yard.

The court also heard that Jempson’s knew about the risk posed by lorries reversing in the pedestrian area but failed to implement measures to reduce the risk of an accident.

Jempson’s denied breaching section three of the Health and Safety at Work Act, but was convicted by a jury following a prosecution by Rother District Council and a two-week trial at Lewes Crown Court.

Ian Hollidge, Rother district council cabinet member for environment, transport and public realm, said: “It’s the clear responsibility of companies and organisations which deal with the public to do everything they reasonably can to minimise risks to their customers.

“The jury found that this company did not do that and agreed with our view that this was a case where more could and should have been done to reduce the risk of an accident like this occurring.

“This conviction should send out a clear message of the importance of taking prompt and effective action when a risk to health and safety is identified.”

The case has been adjourned for sentencing to take place at Lewes Crown Court on 10 July.

Jempson’s declined to comment until the conclusion of the proceedings.