AN 83-year-old woman has avoided prison after causing a crash in Andover which left a man with "life-changing injuries".

On Tuesday, May 9, last year, Eileen Harrington, was driving her Honda Civic when she collided with another vehicle on the A343 Salisbury Road.

She appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, January 2 and during the hearing she pleaded guilty to the offence.

The court heard that Harrington, who lives in Farnborough, was travelling to get her sewing machine fixed when she took a "wrong turn". As a result she tried to turn right when "there was no right turn" and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. 

READ MORE: Andover man, 38, fined for speeding on M27 motorway

Inside the other vehicle was married couple Terry and Eileen Shears, 78 and 69, respectively, who were both left trapped and had to be cut out by emergency service teams.

The court heard that Mr Shears was left with "life-threatening injuries" including 13 broken ribs, while Mrs Shears was also injured. 

Prosecutor Elizabeth Cox said: "His condition was deemed to be life threatening at the time and he is still suffering with PTSD and wakes up in the night screaming."

In a statement read out in court, Mrs Shears said she would "never forget the fear she felt" after the air bags went off.

The court heard that she "thought she had lost her husband" in the moments after the collision and has since "had to do everything for Terry" during his recovery.

A statement from Mr Shears, who was described as a "family man" in court, was also read out by Ms Cox.

The court heard that Mr Shears has no memory of the crash but he has "never felt so low" and the "life he once knew is gone".

SEE ALSO: Andover resident, 21, handed points for driving while banned

In the statement, he said: "I was concerned because my wife was in the accident but I had no idea what happened and I have to rely on others to tell me."

He continued: "When I look in the mirror I don’t recognise the man I once was and I feel frightened when I walk."

In mitigation David Smith described Harrington as “a lady of impeccable character" with no previous convictions.

He said: "What this family has had to go through sits heavily with her to the point where she describes herself as absolutely devastated that she is responsible for this. She finds it difficult to process the repercussions of her mistakes that day and accepts she was the driver of the car that day."

Mr Smith said the crash was a "tragic accident" and a "momentary lapse in judgment".

Harrington was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £750. She must also pay court costs of £85 and a surcharge fee of £300.

In his sentencing district Judge Tim Pattinson said it was "one of the most upsetting cases” he has “heard in a long time".

He said: "This is a very serious case and the consequences for Mr Shears are nothing less than life changing and life threatening. Mrs Shears also suffered nasty injuries. The court has the deepest sympathy for both of them and indeed for their family who have to see them suffer."