A motorist has been cleared of murdering a woman who was crushed under his car following a minor collision, a court has heard.

Robert Barrow was accused of knocking down and driving over 49-year-old Tahereh Pirali-Dashti following a confrontation on the North Circular in London on January 20 last year, the court heard.

The 55-year-old defendant denied murder, claiming it was an “accident”.

A jury found Barrow, of Chigwell, Essex, not guilty of the murder of Mrs Pirali-Dashti and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

He was also found not guilty of assaulting her husband by beating.

The court heard how Mrs Pirali-Dashti had been travelling towards Brent Cross with her husband, Asghar Moradmand, when their Honda Civic bumped into Barrow’s Volkswagen Touareg.

Prosecutor Deanna Heer alleged that Barrow “lost his temper” following the minor collision and punched Mr Moradmand in the face.

Mrs Pirali-Dashti was standing in front of the defendant’s car on the phone to the police when Barrow knocked her to the ground, jurors heard.

Ms Heer said: “Then, as she lay there helpless, he drove over her causing severe crushing injuries from which she later died.”

Mrs Pirali-Dashti’s husband had been shouting for Barrow to stop as he drove forward, the Old Bailey heard.

Giving evidence, Barrow insisted it was an “accident”.

He told jurors: “I was starting to get scared. I didn’t go out to kill and murder someone.”

Asked if he was worried at the time that he might hit Mr Moradmand who stood near his wife in front of the car, the defendant said: “You do have concerns but I didn’t tell either of them to put themselves in a position in front of my car?

“You don’t put yourself in danger.”

He told jurors that he mistakenly thought the couple were “trying to pull a scam on me” so he just wanted to “move away”.

Barrow gave a fist pump and thanked the court as he was cleared of all the charges.