Pedestrian who scared cyclist into road loses bid to appeal manslaughter sentence

A disabled woman who was jailed for shouting and waving aggressively at a cyclist who fell into the path of an oncoming car has lost her bid to appeal her sentence for manslaughter.

CCTV footage showed pedestrian Auriol Grey, 49, shout at retired midwife Celia Ward to "get off the f****** pavement" in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Grandmother Mrs Ward, 77, of Wyton, Cambridgeshire, died after she was struck by a car on 20 October 2020.

Grey, who has cerebral palsy, denied manslaughter but was found guilty following a retrial at Peterborough Crown Court and was jailed for three years in March.

At a Court of Appeal hearing in London, Grey's lawyer argued that 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, sitting with Lord Justice William Davis and Judge Neil Flewitt, refused to grant permission for Grey to appeal against her sentence, concluding it was "not arguably manifestly excessive".

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

When Grey, of Huntingdon, was sentenced for manslaughter in March, Judge Sean Enright said her actions were "not explained by disability".

He said that Grey 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".

Miranda Moore KC, representing Grey at the crown court, 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.

Mrs Ward with her husband David Credit: Family picture

In a statement released through police after Grey was sentenced, Mrs Ward's widower David 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 Hayter 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."

Speaking outside court, Alisdair Luxmore, Grey’s brother-in law, offered condolences to Mrs Ward’s family, adding: “Our actions today must diminish nothing from the suffering they’ve had to endure.”

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.”

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