The driver who knocked down a 12-year-old girl has described the video of the incident as “unbelievable” and has hailed the police's decision to release it.

Hugo Purchase, 42, a carer from Chichester, was driving to work in his silver Suzuki when he struck the girl on a bike who was sat stationary in the middle of the road.

Mr Purchase took responsibility for the incident, having pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, and urged other drives to watch the video.

He said: "I fully support the police's decision to release the CCTV and would encourage all motorists to watch it.

"It is quite shocking, and if it encourages drivers to change their habits then it is worth releasing.

"I have seen the video several times and still don't know how I failed to see the girl. She was sitting there for around 20 seconds. It is unbelievable.

"I looked left and right before pulling out but failed to look where I was actually going before launching forwards.

"I had my foot on the clutch as I prepared to change gear. I wish I had my foot on the brake instead.

"The poor girl was in a lot of pain, and I think she landed on her coccyx. Thankfully, she was not too seriously injured.

"I am no hooligan, and I admitted my guilt at court. I have since learned my lesson and changed the way I drive."The video was released as part of a campaign by Sussex Police urging drivers and cyclists to look out for one another in a bid to reduce the annual bike death toll.

Mr Purchase said: "Hopefully cyclists can also learn something from this video too.

"It was my fault that I hit her but she was dressed in all grey on what was a rather grey day.

"It may not have made a difference in this case, but I would urge cyclists to wear bright clothes, or high visibility items."

Magistrates ordered he pay 85 pounds costs, an 85 pounds fine, and 20 pounds into a fund for victims of crime.

The girl suffered minor injuries.