A TAXI driver who killed a 91-year-old man when he ploughed into him as he crossed Stourbridge's busy ring road has avoided jail time but has been told he will never drive a cab again.

Ukrainian born Mychajilo Dudok was hit by the VW Passat as he crossed the New Road stretch of the ring road on his way to the shops and he died just hours later from his injuries.

Moqadas Hafeez maintained the pensioner had fallen into the path of his car while he was en route to collect a fare but Judge Simon Ward at Wolverhampton Crown Court told him that was just not true.

Sentencing the 39-year-old father-of-three, who was described as a "model citizen", the judge said: "He was there to be seen. He did not fall onto your car - you hit him as he was crossing the road."

The judge said he had no doubts Hafeez was a "decent man" who worked hard for his family and had an unblemished driving record and, for those reasons, he would not send him straight to prison.

Hafeez, of Albert Street, Lye, denied causing the death of the "much-missed" pensioner by careless driving but was convicted by a jury at the end of his trial.

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said Mr Dudok had a difficult start to life during World War II and its aftermath and he came to the UK in 1947.

He was a married man with five children and in a victim impact statement his daughter-in-law Pamela Dudok said his death had a devastating effect on the family.

She said he was a man of great age but was "fiercely independent" and his loss had left a "significant hole" in the lives of all family members.

Mr Spratt said Mr Dudok, who had his shopping trolley while walking with a stick, had successfully negotiated two lanes of the ring road when he was hit by the taxi.

He said Hafeez had ample opportunity to see the pensioner well before he braked - adding: "His driving fell well below the necessary standards."

Hafeez, he stressed, was not doing anything inappropriate as he drove on the ring road and Mr Dudok died later that day from his significant injuries.

The judge gave Hafeez a ten-month jail term, suspended for two years, and he banned him from driving for two years.

He also told him he must carry out 180 hours unpaid work in the community and added: "You will not work as a taxi driver again."

Ben Williams, defending, told the court that since coming to the UK Hafeez had led an honourable and law-abiding life.

He said he had shown an inexplicable failure in his duty as a driver and he added: "Things that ought to be seen sometimes aren't. His brain did not process what was in front of him."

In evidence Hafeez maintained Mr Dudok had fallen onto his car before hitting the ground but Mr Spratt told the jury he could and should have stopped in time to avoid hitting the pensioner.