A pedestrian has been sentenced to three years in prison after she yelled at a cyclist who then fell into the street, was hit by a car, and died.
In October 2020, Auriol Grey, 49, was walking on a sidewalk in Cambridgeshire, a county in England, when Celia Ward was cycling towards her on the same sidewalk.
Grey yelled “get off the f––ing pavement” and threw up her arms at Ward, causing Ward to fall into the street and get hit by a car. She died at the scene, per a news release from Cambridgeshire Police. She was 77.
Grey was found and arrested at her Huntingdon home. And when talking to the police, she said she had disabilities and trouble seeing and was afraid the bike would hit her.
On Thursday, Grey was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to three years in prison.
Ward’s husband of 53 years, David Ward, shared a heartbreaking statement after the sentence, per the police release.
“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 humor and outlook on life, and enjoyed each other’s company. I miss her terribly.”
Their daughter Gillian added, “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.”
She continued of her late mother, “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.”
In surveillance footage of the incident, Grey is heard yelling for Ward to “get off the [expletive] pavement,” per BBC.
During court proceedings, prosecutor Simon Spence KC claimed that Grey was “angered by the presence of a cyclist on a footpath,” BBC reported.
Though police didn’t confirm if the sidewalk was a shared cycleway during the trial, Judge Sean Enright, who sentenced Grey, confirmed that it indeed was.
After Ward fell into the street, an oncoming car had “no chance to stop or take avoiding action,” jurors were told, according to the outlet. Grey fled the scene before first responders arrived and went to the local supermarket Sainsbury’s to get groceries.
The judge said that Grey was “territorial about the pavement” and “resented” Ward for riding on it.
Though the jury was told that Grey has cerebral palsy, Judge Enright said “these actions are not explained by disability.” He noted that Grey lied to authorities about what happened and gave “not a word about remorse until today,” BBC reported.
The judge noted that “consideration of other road users is the lesson of this tragic case.”
The driver who struck Ward also testified and said they feel terrible about what happened, noting that there is “always a piece of me that feels guilty” and her world has “turned upside down,” BBC reported.
Grey’s lawyer, Miranda Moore KC said “there was no intention to cause harm or an obvious risk of harm” and said she plans to appeal her client’s sentencing.
Moore did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“This is a difficult and tragic case,” said investigator and Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard in the police release. “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.”