Auriol Grey: Who is she and what happened to her?

Grey, who caused a cyclist to fall into the path of an oncoming car, has lost a bid to appeal against her sentence for manslaughter.

Watch: Moment woman swears at cyclist who veered into road and was killed by car

Auriol Grey, the pedestrian who caused a cyclist to fall into the path of an oncoming car, has lost a bid to appeal against her three-year sentence for manslaughter.

At a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Friday, Grey’s lawyer argued the sentence was “excessive”.

But judges refused to grant permission for Grey to appeal against her sentence, concluding it was “not arguably manifestly excessive”.

Here, Yahoo News UK explains who Grey is and the controversy surrounding her case.

Who is Auriol Grey?

Grey, 49, is the pedestrian who shouted and waved her arm aggressively at a cyclist, Celia Ward, on the pavement in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, in October 2020.

CCTV footage showed Grey shout at the retired midwife to “get off the f****** pavement” causing her to fall into the road. She died after being struck by a car.

Auriol Grey arrives at Peterborough Crown Court for sentencing in March. (PA)
Auriol Grey arrives at Peterborough Crown Court for sentencing in March. (PA)

Ward’s widower, retired RAF pilot David Ward, said in a statement read to Peterborough Crown Court that the “clip of Celia’s last moments will haunt me forever”.

The driver of the car which collided with Ward, Carla Money, was with her two-year-old daughter at the time and said her life was “turned upside down” by what happened.

What happened to Auriol Grey?

Grey has cerebral palsy, is partially blind, suffers from cognitive issues and has been living in sheltered accommodation for most of her life.

She denied manslaughter but was found guilty following a retrial at Peterborough Crown Court. In March, she was subsequently jailed for three years.

A handout photo issued by Cambridgeshire Police of Auriol Grey. (PA)
A handout photo issued by Cambridgeshire Police of Auriol Grey. (PA)

At that sentencing hearing, barrister Miranda Moore, mitigating for Grey, had said her opinion was “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,” Moore added.

She said witnesses had said Grey “seemed childlike”, that she was “partially blind” and that she lived in adapted special accommodation.

Judge Sean Enright, however, said “these actions are not explained by disability”.

A CCTV image showing Auriol Grey walking on the pavement before causing Celia Ward to fall into the path of an oncoming vehicle in Huntingdon. (PA)
A CCTV image showing Auriol Grey walking on the pavement before causing Celia Ward to fall into the path of an oncoming vehicle in Huntingdon. (PA)

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

During Friday’s Court of Appeal hearing, Grey’s lawyer argued the sentence was “excessive” and that an autism diagnosis secured after her trial may have made a difference in her case.

But Mr Justice Griffiths refused to grant permission for Grey to appeal against her sentence, concluding: “A blameless woman had been killed by the unlawful act of the applicant [Grey] with devastating impact upon the family she left behind and upon others, including the entirely blameless driver of the car.”

Why did it spark such controversy?

In March, disability campaigners and friends reacted with shock and anger at the sentence handed to Grey.

Fazilet Hadi, head of policy at Disability Rights UK, told MailOnline: “This was a really tragic incident, where Celia lost her life, and I feel sadness and sympathy for all involved. The sentence given to Auriol does seem extremely harsh.

"With the number of cyclists increasing, we need proper separation of pedestrians, cyclists and cars, so that we can all keep each other safe. Government and councils need to review guidance, to ensure safe streets."

A photo issued by Cambridgeshire Police of Celia Ward. (PA)
A photo issued by Cambridgeshire Police of Celia Ward. (PA)

This was a point of contention itself, with Cambridgeshire County Council saying of the path on which the incident occurred: “[We] cannot categorically say it is a shared use path as we could not find any legal records to evidence this.”

Det Sgt Mark Dollard, who investigated the case, said: “Everyone will have their own views of cyclists on pavements and cycleways.” Both Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 and the Highway Code suggest it’s not legal for a cyclist to ride their bike on the pavement.

“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."

Speaking outside the Court of Appeal following the rejected appeal on Friday, Alisdair Luxmore, Grey’s brother-in-law, offered condolences to Ward’s family, adding: “Our actions today must diminish nothing from the suffering they’ve had to endure.”

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But he said: “We don’t believe that prison is the right place for someone in Auriol’s circumstances and frankly it’s a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. It’s doing no benefit to society and really it’s difficult to understand the point of it.

“I think there are mitigating circumstances: her mental and her physical (conditions) and her eyesight. Those issues all taken together mean she acts in a certain way that’s different from everybody else and it appears the law doesn’t take account of that or allow for that.”

The Court of Appeal's final ruling was that "we do not consider that the recent psychology report calls for a greater reduction than was already given in this respect by the judge".