A WOMAN collapsed sobbing into the arms of relatives and friends after a jury cleared her of killing her lesbian lover's disabled father.
Karen Ellis had faced a possible life sentence after she was accused of murdering 67-year-old Arthur Knott by using her car as a lethal weapon.
But during her trial at Manchester Crown Court the trial judge, Mr Justice Davis, directed the jury to clear her of the murder charge.
She was still accused of Mr Knott's manslaughter and an alternative offence of causing his death by dangerous driving after he suffered severe head and chest injuries during an incident outside his Stockport home.
But the jury took less than five hours to clear her of both charges and instead convict Ellis, on her own admission, of careless driving. She was fined £250 and banned from driving for three months.
Ellis, aged 43, of Gotherage Lane, Romiley, was arrested after Mr Knott died last August after Ellis and his daughter, also called Karen, had split up. Ellis had gone to her former lover's home in Old Road, Heaton Norris in the early hours of the morning and a row started after which, it was claimed, she got in her car and "scooped" up Mr Knott on the bonnet.
The Crown alleged she then drove for more than 64 metres before braking, causing Mr Knott to be thrown to the ground. But in evidence Ellis she said she was not looking for trouble and claimed Mr Knott grabbed her in a head lock. She admitted biting his arm to force him to release her and got in the car for her own safety.
Ellis told the jury Mr Knott jumped on the bonnet and never had any intention to hurt him.