Woman, 49, convicted of manslaughter after cyclist dies in collision
2nd March 2023

Moment woman, 49, raises her hand and swears at 77-year-old cycling on the pavement who then veered into road and was struck and killed by a car: Pedestrian faces jail after being convicted of manslaughter

  • Auriol Grey, 49, raised her hand at cyclist Celia Ward, 77, in Huntingdon, Cambs
  • Retired midwife Mrs Ward fell into the road and was killed in a car collision

A woman who raised her hand at an elderly cyclist on the pavement moments before a fatal crash has been convicted of manslaughter.

Auriol Grey, 49, swiped angrily at 77-year-old Celia Ward and told her to ‘get off the f****** pavement,’ Peterborough Crown Court heard.

Within seconds, retired midwife Mrs Ward veered into the road and in the path of a car which was unable to stop.

She was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Prosecutor Simon Spence KC said the two women were passing each other when Grey ‘gestured in a hostile and aggressive way’ towards Mrs Ward in October 2020.

Celia Ward, 77, (pictured with her husband David) died in the collision in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, after Auriol Gray, 49, raised her hand and swore as she passed her on the pavement

Footage showed Mrs Ward lose her balance and land into the road, where she was a struck by a car

CCTV footage showed Grey, who has cerebral palsy, raising her hand as Mrs Ward lost her balance and landed into the road.

As emergency services rushed to the scene, Grey fled on foot and went to nearby Sainsbury’s to purchase groceries.

After officers brought her in for questioning, Grey explained she was partially sighted and felt ‘anxious’ as the bicycle was travelling ‘fast’ in the middle of the pavement. She added that she could have lifted her hand ‘unintentionally’.

The Highway Act 1835 renders it illegal to cycle on the pavement, with a fine of up to £500. In this instance, however, officers could not determine if the pavement was a shared cycleway.

Grey will be sentenced later today.

Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard said: ‘This was a difficult and tragic case. 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.

‘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.’

It is estimated two cyclists die on average each week in road accidents, while a further 84 are seriously injured. The majority of incident occur on rural roads and around half when a car collides with a bicycle.

The number of cyclists killed in road accidents reached a 14-year high in 2020 when 140 deaths were records, the highest figure since 2006. The average person is reported to cycle 88 miles each year, while 47 per cent of adults owned or had access to a bicycle.

A parliamentary study published in 2021 found that fatal collisions of cyclists caused by pedestrians was extremely rare, with just five such incidents in 2019. Among pedestrians killed in road accidents between 2005 and 2018, just six were killed by a cyclist while 548 lost their lives to vehicles.

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