Pedestrian jailed over cyclist’s death, loses appeal against verdict | British News
A pedestrian convicted of murdering a cyclist by waving to her to “get off the friggin’ sidewalk” has lost an appeal against her three-year sentence.
Auriol Grey, 49, was caught on CCTV aggressively yelling and waving her arm at Celia Ward, 77, as she approached on her bike in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
Moments later, the retired midwife veered off the curb and fell in the path of an oncoming car. Shortly thereafter, on October 20, 2020, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gray, who is partially blind and suffers from cerebral palsy, denied manslaughter but was found guilty after a retrial at Peterborough Crown Court.
Grey’s attorney argued before the appeals court that the sentence was “excessive” and that a post-trial diagnosis of autism may have made a difference in her case.
But Justice Griffiths, sitting with Lord Justice William Davis and Justice Neil Flewitt, refused to give Gray permission to appeal her verdict, concluding it was “not manifestly excessive”.
The judges sent their condolences to Ms Ward’s family and Judge Griffiths concluded: “An innocent woman was killed by the applicant’s (Grey) wrongful act, with devastating effects on the family she left behind and on others , including the totally innocent driver.’ the car.’
He said the verdict must “take into account the seriousness of the unlawful killing” while also considering mitigating factors such as Grey’s disability.
Miranda Moore KC, representing Gray in the “very unusual” case, previously told the court that a suspended sentence would have been “appropriate.”
The court heard that the issue of autism “only rose to prominence” after Gray’s conviction. A subsequent assessment by a psychologist placed her on the “autism spectrum” and said she had a “limited understanding of her own feelings.”
Ms Moore said autism can give someone “fixed beliefs” and that an autistic person doesn’t like people to be close to them.
“Here was a lady who was convicted of being an aggressive and territorial citizen, and it was her aggressiveness and territorial demeanor that made her behave the way she did,” Ms. Moore said.
“After reading this report with her diagnosis, it makes a lot more sense.”
She also said the criticism of Gray for “showing no empathy,” “leaving the scene,” and what she had told police was “unfair … considering what we now know.”
Ms Moore also questioned the way Grey’s sentence was calculated, including the judge’s findings on the evidence in the case and the weighting of mitigating factors.
Prosecutor Simon Spence KC said the sentencing judge applied the legal guidelines “entirely properly” and argued that the new psychologist’s report did not reduce Grey’s criminal responsibility.
Mr Justice Griffiths dismissed Grey’s appeal arguments, but found that she had expressed remorse for her offense and never intended to do harm.
“The judge placed very great emphasis on the applicant’s (Grey) disabilities and their impact on her as mitigating circumstances.”
“We do not believe that the current psychology report calls for a greater reduction than the judge has already given in this regard.”
Judge Sean Enright, who sentenced Gray of Huntingdon, previously said her actions “were not explained by disability”.
He said that Gray had no mental disorders or learning disabilities and that the pavement was 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide at the relevant point, describing it as a “common path on the ring road.”
In a statement released by police following Gray’s sentencing, Ms Ward’s widower, David Ward, said: “After 53 years of happily married, Celia was taken from me in the most horrible way and left me with my memories.”
“She was kind, calm, careful, cheerful and competent in everything she did.”
“I was deeply saddened by her death.” We relied on each other, shared the same sense of humor and outlook on life, and enjoyed each other’s company.
“I miss her terribly.”
Her daughter, Gillian Hayter, added in a statement released by police: “Her untimely death has turned our world upside down and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could pick up the phone and ask her advice.” the special events in our lives or just tell her how much I love her.
After Friday’s hearing, Ms Moore told reporters: “The homicide law needs to be changed because risk perceptions don’t address mentally challenged people like Auriol.”
Alisdair Luxmore, Grey’s brother-in-law, offered his condolences to Ms Ward’s family outside of court, adding: “Our actions today must not diminish the suffering they have endured.”
He said: “We don’t think prison is the right place for someone in Auriol’s circumstances and quite frankly it’s a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.” It’s of no benefit to society and it’s really difficult to make sense of it .
“I think there are extenuating circumstances, their mental and physical (conditions) and their eyesight. These factors combine to mean that she behaves in a certain way that is different from everyone else, and it seems that the law doesn’t take that into account or “allow it.”
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