A DAD who knocked down and killed a mum of four has escaped a prison sentence.

Balbinder Dhillon, of Montana Close, Great Sankey, was at the wheel of his Audi A4 when he crashed on Lovely Lane on April 25, fatally injuring Donna Davies, aged 42.

The court heard how Dhillon - who kept his head bowed throughout the proceedings - was driving home from picking up his two children from kickboxing when the crash happened at 6.40pm.

His two children were in the back of the car when he drove across the other side of the road onto the pavement where Mrs Davies was walking with her 10-year-old daughter, who escaped the incident uninjured, the court heard.

The car, which was travelling between 31 and 34 miles per hour, only came to a stop when it hit a stone wall.

Prosecuting, Mandy Nepal told the court room that during a police interview the 39-year-old explained he had been under a lot of stress due to his wife’s depression and had recently discovered that his father was terminally ill.

Dhillon also admitted to smoking cannabis on the Sunday and had taken some of his wife’s sleeping tablets on the Tuesday – two days before the crash.

In a statement read out in court, Mrs Davies’ husband, Paul, said his ‘happy loving family had gone to nothing but a shell’ and the two youngest children had been taken into care.

He added: “My life and that of the children has been destroyed.”

Defending, Anne White called the incident an ‘uncharacteristic brief episode of dangerous driving’.

She added: “He said that he blacked out but we will never know if he did on that night. He had his two sons, aged 10 and four, in the back of the car. He had every motive not to drive in a dangerous fashion.”

It was also claimed that there was no evidence of breaking before the crash, which she called ‘highly unusual’.

She also stated that Dhillon had taken a breathyser test, which was negative.

But, he later refused to provide a sample of blood at the hospital which she claimed was because he did not realise anyone else, other than himself and his children, were involved in the crash.

The former director of a landlord and letting agency is now unemployed and was declared bankrupt in November.

Dhillon, who is suffering from post accident amnesia, has since been diagnosed as clinically depressed, the court heard.

Mrs White added: “He is permanently seeking ways to atone and has intense regret and remorse by what happened.

“He broke down and cried when he was told her children had been taken into care.”

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Woodward said: “You are suffering from post accident amnesia and you have no recollection of the accident itself.

“But, in my judgement, a major factor must have been the amount of stress you must have been under at that time.

“In particular, the news that you had just been given by your father and, in some way, that must have affected your driving.

“Her family have been absolutely torn apart by what happened and no sentence I give can do anything to remedy that tragedy.”

Dhillon, who has three previous convictions for drugs from 1998 to 2008, was handed a two-year suspended sentence at Warrington Crown Court on Friday.

The defendant was also ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and is disqualified from driving for five years.