A pedestrian unwilling to share a multi-use path caused a cyclist to fall into traffic in October, 2020. The cyclist, Celia Ward, 77, was then struck by a driver and killed.
Over two years later, the pedestrian, Auriol Grey, has been found guilty of manslaughter, according to BBC.
The two women were traveling in opposite directions on a multi-use path. Grey was on foot, walking in the middle of the path, and Ward was riding her bike. As the two women approached each other, Grey did move to give Ward room to pass but instead gestured and shouted expletives at Ward, telling her to “get off the f**king pavement.” Just off the path, cars sped by.
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Seconds after she was accosted and fell off the path and into the street, Ward was struck by a driver who could not stop their car in time and killed. The entire interaction, including sound, was captured on CCTV.
During Grey’s trial, which concluded this week, jurors heard that the driver of the vehicle who hit Ward had “no chance to stop or take avoiding action” and that Ward was pronounced dead at the scene, the BBC reports.
Adding to the jarring nature of the interaction, Grey left the site of the crash before emergency services arrived, and went grocery shopping. She was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter.
During the trial, police could not confirm whether or not that section of path was legally intended for both pedestrians and cyclists, but in the sentencing, according to Metro News, the judge declared it a shared path and said to Grey, “I am sure you knew cyclists used the path, and were not taken by surprise.”
While trials and verdicts bring some amount of closure, they’re also hugely painful for the family—reliving the events that were so traumatizing. Ward’s husband of 53 years, David, and their daughter, Gillian Hayter, said that Ward is still in their thoughts every day.
Mark Dollard of the Cambridgeshire Police Department described it as a "difficult and tragic case,” saying, “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.”
At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Enright stated that this kind of tragedy is a reminder to be considerate of all road and path users — anger can too quickly lead to unnecessary loss.