Partially-sighted woman with cerebral palsy convicted of manslaughter after elderly cyclist killed

28 February 2023, 22:45 | Updated: 1 March 2023, 01:09

Celia Ward (R) died after being struck by a car in October 2020.
Celia Ward (R) died after being struck by a car in October 2020. Picture: Family Handout

By Chris Samuel

A partially-sighted pedestrian with cerebral palsy has been has been found guilty of killing an elderly cyclist who had "angered" her by cycling on the pavement.

Auriol Grey, 49, gestured in a “hostile and aggressive way” towards Celia Ward, 77, who then fell into the path of an oncoming car which struck her.

A video shown to Peterborough Crown Court captured the moment Grey shouted at Ms Ward to "get off the f****** pavement".

Mrs Ward then appears to wobble off the pavement into road in Huntingdon, Cambs, where she is hit by a VW Passat.

Grey was convicted of manslaughter and will be sentenced on Thursday.

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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.

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.

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

Following the verdict, Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, who interviewed Grey, 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."

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