AN ambulance driver who knocked down a man on a mobility scooter who later died has been handed a community penalty.

A sentencing judge at Oxford Crown Court told Angus McCulloch this morning: "I know that this incident will live with you for the rest of your life.

"But I take this exceptional course because I think you are an exceptional individual."

McCulloch, of Main Road, Long Hanborough, had originally denied one count of causing death by dangerous driving.

The 23-year-old went on to plead guilty to an alternative count of causing death by careless driving.

He was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court today.

Detailing the death crash which happened on August 10 last year, prosecutor William Eaglestone said McCulloch had been driving a Mercedes Sprinter S19 ambulance together with one woman passenger.

They were travelling through Abingdon responding to an emergency call and were on their way to Oxford's ring road.

As McCulloch approached a pedestrian crossing on the A415 Stratton Way while on the opposite side of the road he struck 64-year old Adrian Hesford who was crossing in a mobility scooter.

McCulloch approached the crossing with his blue lights and sirens blaring and was travelling at about 34mph.

The court heard McCulloch's view would have been obscured by a blue van and he would not have seen Mr Hesford until it was too late.

Mr Hesford was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital after the crash but later died of his injuries.

Mr Eaglestone said ambulance policy was to slow down at give-way sections, including at crossings.

He said good practice was to travel at about 10mph.

A victim personal statement read to the court from Mr Hesford's brother Anthony said: "I see it as he [McCulloch] was there to save lives.

"I have always thought about how this terrible accident has affected him.

"I don't blame him, it was just a terrible accident."

In mitigation at the hearing McCulloch's defence barrister Nicholas Smith said that his client had wanted to be an ambulance driver since he was a teenager and was remorseful.

He said: "If only he could turn the clock back he would. He genuinely believed that the pedestrian crossing was clear.

"He is so sorry to have done the opposite of what he has meant to do and effectively what he has dedicated his teenage and adult life to, that is saving lives lives, but it happened.

"He was going too fast for that crossing there is no doubt about it."

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle QC called the sentiment from Mr Hesford's brother 'generous and human' and went on to order a one-year community order for the offence.

As part of that order McCulloch must undertake a total of 180 hours of unpaid work and his driving licence was endorsed with 10 penalty points.