Angry pedestrian who scared cyclist riding on pavement into path of car is jailed for manslaughter

A partially-sighted pedestrian has been jailed for three years for the manslaughter of an elderly cyclist who was riding on the pavement.

The court heard Auriol Grey, 49, swore and gestured at 77-year-old Celia Ward as they passed each other on a shared path by the busy Huntingdon ring road in Cambridgeshire on 20 October 2020.

Mrs Ward fell off her bike into the path of a car and the driver was unable to stop in time.

Peterborough Crown Court heard Grey had shouted at Mrs Ward to "get off the f***ing pavement".

The court heard that after the incident, which was captured on CCTV, Grey left the scene before emergency services arrived and went to Sainsbury's to buy groceries.

Grey, of Bradbury Place, Huntingdon, was convicted of manslaughter on Wednesday.

Auriol Grey is seen gesturing, before Celia Ward is seen falling into the road. Credit: Cambridgehire Police

Before Grey was convicted on Wednesday, prosecutor Simon Spence KC told the court Grey shouted at Mrs Ward and "gestured in a hostile and aggressive way towards" her, causing her to fall off the bike and into the road where she was hit by an oncoming car.

Grey, who has cerebral palsy, told police she had been worried about being struck by the bike.

Judge Sean Enright, sentencing Grey, said her "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".

A shared path is one which is designated for use by both cyclists and pedestrians.

Mrs Ward's widower, retired RAF pilot David Ward, said in a statement read to the court that the "clip of Celia's last moments will haunt me forever".

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.

Mrs Ward with her husband David Credit: Family picture

"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.

Mr Ward 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".

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", and that she lived in adapted special accommodation.

Det Sgt Mark Dollard speaking to the press outside court Credit: PA Images

After the judge passed his sentence on Thursday, Ms Moore indicated that an appeal would be submitted 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.

After the verdict, Det Sgt Mark Dollard described the case as "difficult and tragic".

"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."

Mrs Ward's daughter said in a statement that her mum's "untimely death" had turned her family's world on its head.

She added: "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."

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