Farmworker Lucille Ellis - who has a phobia of spiders - had been trying to bat away the arachnid when she drove her Nissan pick up on to the wrong side of the road and into the path of an oncoming car.

Ellis, 40, of North Petherwin, Cornwall, admitted careless driving last October on the A3072 road when she appeared at Bodmin magistrates court.

The other driver, Diane Martin, suffered back and leg wounds which needed skin grafts.

Ellis told police:"I was driving when a large spider dropped down in front of my face and I was just trying to bat it out of the way. I continued straight instead of taking the left hand bend and ended up on the other side of the road."

She said she braked when she saw the oncoming car and swerved towards a verge to try and get out of the way.

She said:"I didn't take my hands off the wheel or anything like that."

Chris Andrews, defending, said she told police about her phobia of spiders and said it was not a 'deliberate piece of bad driving'.

Magistrates fined her £325 with £100 costs and gave her six penalty points on her licence.

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