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Pedestrian who caused cyclist to fall in front of car is jailed for manslaughter

Pedestrian who caused cyclist to fall in front of car is jailed for manslaughter

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 her manslaughter.

CCTV footage shows Auriol Grey, 49, shout at retired midwife Celia Ward to “get off the f****** 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.

Grey, who has cerebral palsy, denied manslaughter but was found guilty following a retrial at Peterborough Crown 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”.

Auriol Grey court case
Celia Ward who died after falling from her bike into the path of an oncoming vehicle. She is pictured with her husband David Ward (Family photo/PA)

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.

Ms Hayter told, in a victim impact statement read to the court, of her mother’s “senseless and needless death lying in the road without those who loved her”.

Auriol Grey court case
Auriol Grey was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court to three years in prison for the manslaughter of cyclist Celia Ward (Joe Giddens/PA)

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

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”, that she was “partially blind” 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.

The appeal was submitted later on Thursday, during a brief hearing held in chambers, in which the judge refused the request for bail.

Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, who investigated, 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.”

Auriol Grey court case
A screengrab taken from CCTV showing Auriol Grey walking on the pavement before causing Celia Ward to fall into the path of an oncoming vehicle in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire (Cambridgeshire Police/PA)

In a statement released through police after sentencing, Mr Ward said: “After 53 years of happy marriage, Celia was taken from me in a most horrific way, leaving me with my memories.

“She was kind, calm, careful, cheerful and competent in all that she did.

“Her death has caused me great suffering. We relied on each other, shared the same sense of humour and outlook on life, and enjoyed each other’s company.

“I miss her terribly.”

Her daughter Gillian added in a statement released through police: “Celia Ward was my mum, mother-in-law to my husband and much-loved grandmother to my son, but most importantly, the love of my father’s life.

“Her untimely death has turned our world on its head and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t wish I could pick up the phone to ask her advice, celebrate the special events in our lives or just tell her how much I love her.

“It’s easy to say how wonderful my mum was… she was passionate about her family and always there to help and support us.

“She was of a generation that made and mended, kept a spotless house and always put others first.

“Her death has marred what should have been some of the most enjoyable times for us as a family.

“We can never forget the past two-and-a-half years, but it’s now time to start remembering the wonderful memories and times we had with mum, and hopefully find some peace.”