THE driver of a Range Rover involved in a crash leading to the death of hotelier Tom Bannister will no longer face a charge of manslaughter.

Debbie Barker is now due to be sentenced later this month at Bradford Crown Court for causing the death of Mr Bannister while driving without due care and attention, while over the drink-drive limit, and of failing to report the accident.

The manslaughter charge was not proceeded with by the Crown Prosecution Service, after Barker pleaded guilty in June to the other charges.

The 42-year-old Gargrave woman had been due to stand trial in October for the manslaughter of Mr Bannister - who was then managing director of The Coniston Hotel - who died at the scene of the accident at Carseylands Hill, near Coniston Cold, in June last year.

Skipton Magistrates' Court was told at an earlier hearing that Mr Bannister had been a front-seat passenger in the Range Rover being driven by Barker when it left the road not far from Mr Bannister's home.

The hearing, in February, heard that Barker, a friend of Mr Bannister, had been at a function at The Coniston Hotel on June 21, and had been part of a group of several friends invited to stay on for supper.

Barker had been driving Mr Bannister home when the Range Rover left the road, throwing out Mr Bannister.

Barker then left the scene of the accident on foot, walking the around two miles to her home in Gargrave.

She telephoned Michael Bannister, Tom Bannister's father, at just before 2am, who found his son out of the vehicle but showing no signs of life around half an hour later.

Mr Bannister, the 48 year old managing director of the Coniston Hotel, was a keen supporter of countryside sports and a joint master of the Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt.

A n enthusiastic supporter of point to point and racing, The Coniston Hotel Racing Club was set up in his memory in November.