A pedestrian who aggressively confronted an elderly cyclist who was riding on the pavement, causing her to be killed after she fell into the path of a vehicle, has been jailed for three years for manslaughter.
Auriol Grey, aged 49, was convicted of the offence by a jury at Peterborough Crown Court last month, and returned there today for sentencing, where Judge Sean Enright told her she was “territorial about the pavement" and “resented” the presence of the cyclist reports BBC News.
Her trial in February heard that Grey had acted in a “hostile and aggressive way” towards 77-year-old Celia Ward, including shouting and gesturing at her, causing her to fall from her bike and into the carriageway on 20 October 2020 on a pavement alongside a ring road in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
> “Hostile and aggressive” pedestrian found guilty of killing 77-year-old cyclist in pavement cycling dispute
Grey left the scene before the arrival of the emergency services and went to a supermarket to do her shopping. She was arrested the next day, and claimed that Mrs Ward had been cycling “at high speed” and that she was “anxious I was going to get hit by it,” so “flinched out” with her left arm to protect herself.”
But passing sentence, the judge told her she had given a “dishonest account in interview” and that there had been “not a word about remorse until today.”
While the trial last month heard that Cambridgeshire Constabulary were unable to “categorically” ascertain whether Mrs Ward had been cycling on a shared use path, the judge said today in his sentencing remarks that it was a shared facility.
CCTV footage shared by Cambridgeshire Constabulary showed Grey, who has cerebral palsy and is partially sighted, shouting at Mrs Ward, described by her widower as an “experienced and competent cyclist,” to “get off the f*ck*ng pavement.”
Speaking in mitigation at today’s sentencing hearing, Miranda Moore KC said that Grey plans to appeal against the sentence and claimed that “she does not pose a risk or danger to the public.”
But the judge told Grey: “These actions are not explained by disability.”
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard 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 hope it is a stark reminder to all road users to take care and be considerate of 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,” he added.
In a victim impact statement, Mrs Ward’s husband David said: “After 53 years of happy marriage, Celia was taken from me in a most horrific way, leaving me with only 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.”
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