A pedestrian whose actions caused the death of a 77-year-old cyclist because she was enraged by her presence on the sidewalk has been incarcerated.
Auriol Grey, 49, yelled an expletive and made "aggressive" hand gestures towards Celia Ward, who fell into the path of a car in Huntingdon in 2020, while using an expletive. The court in Peterborough heard that Grey "despised" the presence of the cyclist.
Grey, of Bradbury Place in Huntingdon, was sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter. The women passed each other in opposite directions on the ring road of the Cambridgeshire town on the afternoon of 20 October, according to testimony at their trial.
Grey was heard yelling at Mrs. Ward, a retired midwife, had to get off the pavement as the incident was recorded on CCTV with sound.
Prosecutor Simon Spence KC stated that the defendant was "irritated by the appearance of a cyclist on a footpath" and pointed to Mrs. Ward of Wyton, who had fallen into the path of a car. The jury was informed that the vehicle had "no opportunity to stop or avoid the collision," and Mrs. Ward's death was declared at the scene.
Grey left before emergency services arrived and went grocery shopping at Sainsbury's. The police were unable to state clearly whether or not the sidewalk was a shared cycleway.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Sean Enright stated that it was a shared cycleway, despite the fact that Cambridgeshire County Council later reaffirmed this and stated that the location would be examined. Judge Enright stated while sentencing Grey that she was territorial about the sidewalk and despised the presence of the cyclist
At trial, it was revealed that Grey had cerebral palsy and she was also partially sighted. However, the judge stated that these actions cannot be attributed to disability. According to him, she gave an untruthful account in the interview and there was "no remorse until today."
Judge Enright also mentioned that the lesson to be learnt from this tragic case is how to have consideration of other road users. He stated that the victim's impact statements made for "painful reading," with Mrs. Ward's husband of 53 years, David mentioned that he thought of her almost every day. Their daughter, Gillian Hayter, described the death of her mother as "senseless and unnecessary" and praised the police officers as "a credit to the uniform they wear."
The driver of the car that struck Mrs. Ward stated that she would always feel guilty" about the incident and that the incident had turned her life upside down.
Miranda Moore KC, during mitigation for Grey mentioned that Auriol Grey had no intention to cause any harm or an obvious risk of harm. she stated that she would be making an appeal against the sentence.
Cambridgeshire Police Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard described it as a "tough and tragic incident." He said that everyone would have their own opinion on sidewalks, cycleways and cyclists. However, it cannot be denied that Grey’s response to Celia’s presence on a pedal bicycle was incredibly disproportionate and ruled illegal. It resulted in Celia’s untimely and unnecessary death.