A HERO of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack was knocked down and killed by a driver as he crossed the road on his way to work, a court heard.
Ex-milkman Stephen Hilder became caught up in the atrocity which left 11 dead and 48 wounded when he stopped off in the capital while returning home from the Epsom Derby with his eldest son.
Despite fears for his own safety, the granddad ignored orders to take cover and instead helped an injured woman until the emergency services arrived.
That evening three terrorists ran amok, first ramming pedestrians on London Bridge with a van before knifing people at random in nearby Borough Market.
Mr Hilder's brave actions were revealed at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, during the sentence hearing of the driver who fatally struck him while "cutting a corner" 18 months later.
In a victim impact statement, one of Mr Hilder's sons, Daniel, said his dad's response on seeing stabbing victims on the pavement demonstrated that "not even the threat to his own life would stand in the way of his ability to help others".
Mr Hilder, known as Seve, was knocked down by a Land Rover Freelander driven by David Smith as he walked to work on an industrial estate near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, at 8.20am on January 4, 2019.
Smith, himself heading to work at a nearby Hermes depot, ended up on the wrong side of the road as he turned into Chapman Way from North Farm Road in High Brooms.
Mr Hilder, 70, had already started to cross the busy junction but stopped just short of the central dividing line to check for traffic and to wait for the Freelander to pass him.
However, 56-year-old Smith failed to spot him in time and only applied his brakes after hitting him head-on, the court heard.
The crash, which was captured on CCTV and played in court, resulted in Mr Hilder striking his head on the ground and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Smith knew the area well, having worked at the Hermes site for two years, and described the junction where the road markings were worn away as "tricky" when interviewed by police.
He was cleared by a jury in November last year of causing death by dangerous driving but had admitted causing death by careless driving ahead of his trial, accepting he was on the wrong side of the road.
Sentencing him on Friday just four days after the second anniversary of Mr Hilder's death, Judge David Griffith-Jones QC said he died as a result of Smith's momentary lack of attention.
"Had you been keeping a proper look-out you would have surely seen Mr Hilder as you ought to have done," he told Smith.
"As a result of your carelessness he has paid the ultimate price. This was a most awful and tragic incident. Mr Hilder lost his life and those close to him had him sadly and brutally removed from their lives."
But the judge also raised concerns about the state of the junction markings, saying what was left could lead motorists to turn at an "inappropriate" point.
"While it is clear you cut the corner, it seems to me that any criticism of you doing so has to be tempered with the fact the road markings had been largely worn away," he added.
The court heard Smith, of Henwoods Mount, Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells, was of previous good character and, until the crash, had an unblemished driving record since passing his test in 1983.
He was handed a 12-month jail term suspended for two years and an 18-month ban.
He must also carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and be subject to a three-month tagged curfew between 8pm and 7am.
Judge Griffith-Jones described Mr Hilder, who lived in Tonbridge, Kent, as "a fine, active and much-loved family man who played a pivotal role in the lives of so many".
Tom Stern, defending, said a "remorseful and apologetic" Smith had "fallen to the peril of human fallibility", but there were no aggravating factors to his momentary inattention.
Daniel Hilder said in his statement his dad had "lived life to the full" and refused to retire.
He added: "Our family has a hole in it which was created by the actions of another. My heart and world broke on January 4, 2019."
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