Auriol Grey shouted and waved at Celia Ward to get off the pavement in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Auriol Grey arriving for sentencing at Peterborough crown court on Thursday.Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA
A pedestrian who shouted and waved her arm aggressively at a cyclist on the pavement, causing her to fall into the path of an oncoming car, has been jailed for three years for manslaughter.
CCTV footage shows Auriol Grey, 49, shouting at Celia Ward to “get off the fucking pavement” in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, resulting in the retired midwife falling into the road.
Ward, 77, of Wyton, Cambridgeshire, died after she was struck by the car on 20 October 2020.
Grey, who has cerebral palsy, denied manslaughter but was found guilty after a retrial at Peterborough crown court. Sentencing her, Judge Enright said her actions were not the result of disability, adding that the pavement was 2.4 metres wide where the accident happened, and it was a “shared path on the ring road”.
Ward’s widower, David, a retired RAF pilot, said in a statement read to the court by the prosecutor, Simon Spence KC, that the “clip of Celia’s last moments will haunt me for ever”.
He said: “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.”
Celia Ward with her husband, David.Photograph: Cambridgeshire police/PA
He said he and his wife 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, adding that this was to be closer to family.
Their daughter, Gillian Hayter, in a victim impact statement read to the court, said her mother had died a “senseless and needless death lying in the road without those who loved her”.
The driver of the car, Carla Money, who was with her two-year-old daughter at the time, said her life was “turned upside down” by what happened.
Miranda Moore KC, representing Grey, said: “What happened took but a moment that has impacted on many.” She said Grey’s view was that cyclists should cycle on the road where pavements are narrow, adding that there had been “no intention to cause harm”, nor was there “an obvious risk of harm”.
She said witnesses had said Grey “seemed childlike”, and that she lived in adapted special accommodation.
After sentencing on Thursday, Moore indicated that an appeal would be submitted and a request for bail.
DS Mark Dollard, of Cambridgeshire police, said: “This is a difficult and tragic case. Everyone will have their own views of cyclists on pavements and cycleways, but what is clear is 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.”
A Little Thought:
Firstly my thoughts go out to the family of Celia Ward followed this accident.
Living in London I see cyclist's on the pavement every day and now we have the escooters as well.
Ms Grey perhaps acted aggressively and her language may have been inflammatory but I do not feel a custodial sentence is the appropriate outcome.