Woman, 49, jailed for manslaughter for shouting at cyclist before she was killed by car 'plans to appeal'

3 March 2023, 07:51

CCTV shows moment Auriol Grey raises hand to Celia Ward before latter falls

By Asher McShane

A disabled and partially sighted woman convicted of manslaughter for gesturing and swearing at a cyclist before they fell into the path of an oncoming car plans to appeal her jail term, it has emerged.

Auriol Grey, 49, shouting at retired midwife Celia Ward to "get off the f***ing pavement" in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, causing her to fall into the road.

Grandmother Mrs Ward, 77, of Wyton, Cambridgeshire, died after she was struck by a car on October 20, 2020.

CCTV shows the moment Grey gestures towards Mrs Ward telling her to ‘get off the f****** pavement’. Seconds later Mrs Ward veers into the road before falling over the front of her bicycle and being hit by a car that was unable to stop.

Grey’s team have said she plans an appeal, having expected a suspended sentence. She denied manslaughter.

A source told the Sun: “'She was warned she could face a custodial sentence but had been anticipating a suspended sentence.

"She is shocked and devastated by the outcome.

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

Her sentence has since been branded 'extremely harsh' by disability campaigners.

Cambridgeshire County Council also said they could find ‘no legal records’ to suggest the pavement was a ‘shared footpath’ despite the judge declaring it one in court.

Judge Sean Enright, sentencing Grey to three years in prison, said "these actions are not explained by disability".

He said that Grey, of Huntingdon, had no mental disorder or learning difficulties and he said the pavement was 2.4 metres wide at the relevant point, describing it as a "shared path on the ring road"

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Auriol Grey gestured at Celia Ward as she cycled on the pavement
Auriol Grey gestured at Celia Ward as she cycled on the pavement. Picture: Cambs Police

The court heard that two women passed each other on the pavement of the town's ring road pavement on October 20, 2020.

The prosecution claimed that Grey had been "angered by the presence of a cyclist on a footpath".

Prosecutor Simon Spence KC said Grey shouted at Ms Ward and "gestured in a hostile and aggressive way towards" her, which caused her to fall off the bike and into the road where she was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

Auriol Grey, 49,  who has been jailed for three years for manslaughter
Auriol Grey, 49, who has been jailed for three years for manslaughter. Picture: police

Mrs Ward's widower, retired RAF pilot David Ward, said in a statement read to the court by prosecutor Simon Spence KC that the "clip of Celia's last moments will haunt me forever".

"Rarely a day goes by without thinking of her and our happy life together but I can so easily burst into tears, as I have on so many occasions," he said

He said they met in 1965 and in their retirement enjoyed playing golf and seeing the world on cruise holidays.

"I miss her terribly and after a year-and-a-half on my own felt the need to sell our house of 34 years and relocated to a retirement village near Romsey (in Hampshire)," he said.

He said that he did this to be closer to family, including their daughter Gillian Hayter.

Ward, 77, then fell into the road after the confrontation
Ward, 77, then fell into the road after the confrontation. Picture: Cambs Police

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The court heard the car had no chance to stop or take avoiding action and that Ms Ward died at the scene.

Jurors were told Grey left before emergency services arrived and went to Sainsbury's where she bought groceries.

In a police interview Grey told officers she was partially sighted and described the bicycle as travelling "fast" in the middle of the pavement.

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

The court was told police couldn't "categorically" state whether the pavement was a shared cycleway.

Celia Ward (R) died after being struck by a car in October 202
Celia Ward (R) died after being struck by a car in October 202. Picture: Family Handout

Miranda Moore KC, mitigating for Grey, said: "What happened took but a moment that has impacted on many."

She said that Grey's "present opinion is where the pavements are narrow the cyclists... should cycle on the road".

"There was no intention to cause harm or an obvious risk of harm," she said.

She said witnesses had said that Grey "seemed childlike", and that she lived in adapted special accommodation.

After the judge passed his sentence on Thursday, Ms Moore indicated that an appeal would be submitted against this and a request for bail would be made.

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