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03rd Mar 2023

Pedestrian jailed over cyclist’s death ‘devastated’ at decision to jail her for three years

Steve Hopkins

Grey suffers from cognitive and mobility issues and is partially sighted

A pedestrian jailed for three-years for yelling at an elderly cyclist moments before her death is reportedly “devastated” by her sentence and will appeal.

Auriol Grey gestured in a “hostile and aggressive” way to retired midwife, Celia Ward, and told her to “get off the f***ing pavement”. The 77-year-old then fell into the path of an oncoming car on the carriageway at Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Grey, 49, suffers from cognitive and mobility issues and is partially sighted, was hoping to be given a suspended jail term at worst, The Sun reported on Friday.

A source close to her defence team told the publication: “She is shocked and devastated by the outcome.

“Her lawyer had desperately tried to get her out on bail while during an appeal process but it was a failed application.”

Grey is single and lives alone in an adapted home in Huntingdon. She is partially estranged from her mother, who according to sources, “has no interest in her daughter”. Her sister died two years ago, and she has no husband or partner.

The source added: “She has no one in her life to help and support her, just one friend who has his own family but has been giving her lifts to court. “It is a very sad situation to be in.”

Grey, who denied manslaughter was found guilty following a retrial at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday.

Judge Sean Enright acknowledged Grey’s health issues, but said: “It does not reduce your understanding of right or wrong.

“You have not expressed a word about remorse until today in the pre-sentencing notes.

“I accept the explanation from the counsel and that the difficulty you would face in custody and afterwards are considerable.”

The court heard the two women passed each other in opposite directions on the pavement of the town’s ring road pavement on 20 October 2020.

The prosecution claimed Grey was “angered by the presence of a cyclist on a footpath”.

Prosecutor Simon Spence KC said Grey shouted at Ward and “gestured in a hostile and aggressive way towards” her, causing the pensioner to fall off the bike and into the road where she was hit by an oncoming car.

Jurors heard the vehicle had no chance to stop or take avoiding action and Ward died at the scene.

The court heard Grey left prior to emergency services arriving and went to Sainsbury’s where she bought groceries.

In her police interview, Grey told officers she was partially sighted and described the pedal cycle as travelling “fast” in the centre of the pavement.

She stated she was “anxious that I was going to get hit by it”, adding she “may have unintentionally put” out her hand to protect herself.

But after being shown the CCTV footage, interviewing officer detective sergeant Mark Dollard asked her why she said what she said, to which she responded: “I don’t know.”

The court was told police could not “categorically” state whether the pavement was a shared cycleway.

After the verdict, Dollard said: “This is a difficult and tragic case. ”

“Everyone will have their own views on cyclists, pavements and cycleways but what is clear is Auriol Grey’s response to the presence of Celia on a pedal cycle was totally disproportionate and ultimately found to be unlawful, resulting in Celia’s untimely and needless death. ”

“I am pleased with the verdict and hope it is a stark reminder to all road users to take care and be considerate to each other.

“I want to take the time to acknowledge Celia’s family and thank them for their patience and dignity throughout the entirety of the investigation and trial.”

Prior to sentencing a victim impact statement was read to the court from Celia’s daughter, Gillian Hayter.

She said: “The lack of any remorse from the accused cannot be underestimated in having a profound effect on us all.

“I can still remember the details of the conversation on hearing my mother was killed in a cycling accident.

“The panic and disbelief and shock of losing her in such an awful accident was hard to comprehend.

“But the news that it was not a tragic accident but a deliberate act of violence was incomprehensible.

“Mum is the least violent person. “We have not had a chance to properly grieve and the court case has been a constant reminder to us that mum is no longer here.”

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