A DRIVER could face up to 14 years in jail after he knocked down and killed a university graduate when he ''gambled' on an amber traffic light during the evening rush hour.

IT manager Glen Wall, 35, was speeding home to get a family BBQ but failed to brake when he encountered a set of lights turning to red.

His Vauxhall Astra car hurtled across a busy junction and ploughed into Helena Thurm, 25, as she was crossing the road following a job interview.

The former grammar school pupil was thrown into the air by the force of the impact and suffered multiple injuries. She died the following day in hospital. Inquiries revealed Wall was just a mile from home when he undertook another driver before speeding through the amber light at Timperley, near Altrincham, Greater Manchester at up to 36mph.

He been driving in a lane that had been sign-posted for left hand turns only - yet he continued straightforward and struck Helena, who believed it had been safe to cross.

At Manchester Crown Court, Wall looked visibly shocked and looked to his wife Emma as he was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving following a trial. He had claimed he thought Helena was on her mobile phone at the time of the collision - but examinations showed the device was not being used at the time of the impact.

Judge Patrick Field QC asked for the case be adjourned until the new year for reports but ordered Wall be given an interim driving ban.

Remanding him on bail, the Judge said: ''You have now been convicted of a very grave offence and whilst I am going to release you on bail, do not take from that any indication of the likely sentence.

''The most likely sentence for one of death by dangerous is one of imprisonment and there must be no illusion about that.''

After the case Helena's father Alan, 63, a retired college lecturer said: ''Justice has been done today and Glen Wall has been proven to have killed our daughter by driving dangerously.

''Throughout his police interview and cross examination, he consistently lied to try escape from this verdict and his lies have now been found out. However, nothing will bring back our beautiful daughter Helena.

''Helena's death has totally devastated our family and her friends and I only hope that drivers that feel the need to drive dangerously will think twice about the consequences that could result from this sort of behaviour. This has completely devastated our family and our lives are irreversibly changed.

''Whatever sentence Glen Wall gets our family have got a life sentence of grief and sorrow and I hope he reflects on this."

The tragedy occurred on June 20 last year after Miss Thurm a former pupil at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls who graduated in public relations and digital communications at Manchester Metropolitan University had attended an job interview at a fashion retailer in the city.

Rob Hall prosecuting said: "Afterwards she phoned her boyfriend and they chatted about how the interview had gone. She had some spare time so went shopping at the Arndale Centre and got her haircut. By 5pm she was getting a tram to get back to Timperley.

"On the way out of Manchester she phoned her father and mother to tell them how the interview went and discussed arrangements for that evening but that would turn out to be their last conversation with their daughter.''

Wall who worked at an office 25 miles away in Rochdale had been on his way home to Altrincham when he encountered a set of roadworks at the junction on the A56 Manchester Road at 6.08pm.

Mr Hall added: '''A witness had travelling in the right hand lane and as he approached the traffic lights he noted that the lights were changing to amber so he stopped. But this defendant who in the left hand lane did not take the same approach and he didn't slow.

"His response was to see that as an opportunity to get in front of the witness and he undertook his car and drove straight across the traffic lights where Helena Thurm was crossing - and where she had been waiting for some time.

"When she saw this defendant approaching in a left only lane she would have been entitled to think he would not be travelling straight onwards. But he went straight across the cross roads and drove straight through her throwing her into the air. This defendant was essentially gambling on an amber light.''

During the trial, Wall who denied wrongdoing told the jury: ''The lights were on green and I had not seen any pedestrians around the junction. They changed to amber but I was extremely close to the lights at that point so there was absolutely no way I could stop even with an emergency stop.

"I felt that carrying on was the safest and only course of action I could take. I only became aware of the girl as she stepped into the road.

I completely panicked, she was looking the other way with her hand to her ear and there was no way she was looking at me. I tried to swerve out of the way and my brain was thinking should I try and stop or get out of the way.

"It was so quick it wasn't even a decision it was a reaction. I thought I had missed her at first but then I heard a thud on the windscreen and thought, oh my god what has just happened. I got out of the car and went straight over and called an ambulance straight away.

"She didn't appear to be looking in my direction when she crossed. I assumed the placing of her hand meant she was on the phone but I didn't actually see a phone. I took as much care as I could."

He will be sentenced on January 22.