A pedestrian has been jailed for manslaughter after causing a cyclist to fall from the pavement and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Auriol Grey, 49, was sentenced to three years in prison at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday, after it was judged that her actions resulted in the death of 77-year-old cyclist Celia Ward.
The incident took place on 20 October 2020 in the Cambridgeshire town of Huntingdon. CCTV footage shows Grey gesturing at Ward as the two passed each other in opposite directions on a shared cycleway. Grey can also be heard shouting “get off the f******g pavement”.
Ward, a retired midwife, then swerved into the road where she was hit by a motorist.
During the trial, jurors heard that the driver had “no chance to stop or take avoiding action”. The emergency services soon arrived, by which time Grey had left to do her grocery shopping. Ward was pronounced dead at the scene.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Sean Enright said Grey was “territorial about the pavement” and “resented” the cyclist’s presence.
Grey, who has cerebral palsy and lives in adapted special accommodation, denied manslaughter, but was found guilty after retrial. The judge said that her actions were “not explained by disability” and that she had not shown any remorse until the final day of her trial.
In a statement read out to the court, Ward’s widower David said the CCTV footage of his wife’s death 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.”
Their daughter, Gillian Hayter, called her mother’s death “senseless and needless”.
Cambridgeshire police’s DS Mark Dollard said: “This is a difficult and tragic case. Everyone will have their own views on 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.
“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.”
Grey’s legal representative said that an appeal and a request for bail will be submitted.
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