Disabled woman 'couldn't remember' moments before cyclist hit by car

New footage shows ‘childlike’ partially-blind woman who was jailed for waving cyclist into path of car telling police she ‘can’t remember’ saying ‘get off the f***ing pavement’ seconds before crash

  • Auriol Grey, 49, gestured at grandmother Celia Ward, 77, before she was killed
  • She was sentenced to three years and faces losing her home and possessions
  • Grey told police she ‘couldn’t remember’ what happened before the fatal crash

A ‘childlike’ disabled and partially blind woman who was jailed for manslaughter told police she ‘couldn’t remember’ telling a cyclist to ‘get off the f***ing pavement’ seconds before the pensioner was killed by a car. 

Auriol Grey, 49, was sentenced to three years in prison earlier this month after her outburst led to grandmother Celia Ward, 77, losing her balance and toppling into the road, where she was hit by a car and killed.

Video footage of her interview with police shows she told them ‘I can’t remember’ when pressed for details of what happened during the incident.

Grey, who has cerebal palsy, is said to have made physical contact with Ms Ward before she lost her balance, but left the scene to do her shopping before telling police she didn’t speak to emergency services because ‘they weren’t there’.

It comes after her sentence was criticised by campaigners as extremely harsh on the 49-year-old, who has just one friend and is estranged from her family.

Auriol Grey, 49, has cerebal palsy and is partially blind – she was described as ‘childlike’ and is estranged from her family

The tragic accident happened as the retired midwife was riding her bike on a path in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, on October 20, 2020. 

In the footage police officers asked Grey how Ms Ward ended up in the road. 

‘I think that the bike may have, if it swerved, onto the road,’ she replied.

When asked if she had touched the bike or rider during the incident, Grey replied: ‘Only in a vague way’, before adding she touched her ‘lightly’.

She originally also said she ‘couldn’t remember’ whether she had said anything to Ms Ward.

Later in the interview, officers showed her CCTV footage of the collision and pointed out they could see Grey’s lips moving.

She then told officers she asked Ms Ward to ‘slow down’.

They also showed Grey stills of the footage, pointing out to Grey that her hand was ‘on [Ms Ward’s] jacket.’

When pushed to explain this, Grey again said: ‘I can’t remember’. 

Grey repeatedly told police she ‘couldn’t remember’ details of the incident which led to Ms Ward’s death

Grey left the scene of the collision before emergency services arrived and went to a local supermarket

Footage released by the CPS showed Grey’s interview after she was arrested

Grey was shown stills from CCTV footage, as well as played the tape and the audio

Read more: Mother of pedestrian who was jailed for waving at a cyclist to get off the pavement before she was hit by a car reveals how her daughter has ‘struggled’ after suffering brain damage at birth

The audio of Grey telling Ms Ward to ‘get off the f***ing pavement’ was then played to her by the officers.

Grey said she could not hear what was being said on the audio,

She was later asked to explain what she had meant by shouting the expletive at Ms Ward, to which she replied: ‘I can’t remember’. 

Grey was also questioned about why she did not stay to speak to emergency services after Ms Ward had been hit by the car.

She said: ‘They weren’t there.’

When pushed, she added: ‘She was being helped and you could hear police and things coming.

‘I didn’t know I had to [stay].’

The court heard that until pre-sentencing Grey had expressed ‘no remorse’ for her actions and had walked off before emergency services arrived at the scene of the crash – despite admitting to police she had heard sirens on their way. 

She is understood to be appealing her sentence, with her defence lawyer warning she stands to lose her home and all her belongings if she continues spending time in jail. 

Her laywer Miranda Moore KC told a court judge: ‘She has nobody to support her apart from a friend and no family support at all. She has no financial support at all other than state benefits.

‘If she goes to prison today she would lose her home and has no one to store her possessions. She doesn’t know what would happen to them.’

Grey has lived on her own for 17 years and has no partner, relying solely on state benefits to survive. 

Her sister Genny, older by seven years, died two years ago but even before that the two rarely had any contact. 

CCTV footage showed Ms Ward falling into the road moments before she was struck by a car

She has almost no contact with her mother, who has said Grey has struggled for years after suffering from brain damage at birth. 

But a judge said her actions were ‘not explained by disability’. 

Grey was said to have been warned to expect a custodial sentence, but still believed she would only be handed a suspended term. 

Her basic ground-floor flat is run by a charitable trust that provides homes for disabled people who want to live independently. 

Neighbours previously told how she was known for having a bad temper, seen as a ‘loner’ and was often heard shouting and swearing inside her flat.

One, who lives opposite Grey told MailOnline: ‘We have paper thin walls and sometimes I heard her having heated phone conversation with people, telling then to f*** off.

‘I never knew who she was taking to but it was on the phone because she never had any visitors.’

Read more: Disabled and partially blind woman who was jailed for three years after she gestured at a cyclist to get off the pavement seconds before she was killed is ‘devastated’ by her sentence and vows to appeal

But another neighbour disagreed. Carrie Tooke, 51, an executive assistant, told MailOnline: ‘I cannot believe that someone as delightful as she is can be treated like this.

‘It is very, very cruel.’

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Sean Enright acknowledged Grey’s health issues, but told her they ‘do not reduce your understanding of right or wrong’.

Judge Enright said he could only impose an immediate jail sentence, telling Grey she ‘resented the presence of an oncoming cyclist’ and her actions are ‘not explained by disability’.

‘This was a shared path for cyclists and pedestrians, I am sure you knew cyclists used the path, and were not taken by surprise,’ the judge said.

The judgement has also been branded ‘extremely harsh’ by disability campaigners. 

Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at Disability Rights UK, told MailOnline: ‘This was a really tragic incident, where Celia lost her life, and I feel sadness and sympathy for all involved. The sentence given to Auriol does seem extremely harsh.

‘With the number of cyclists increasing, we need proper separation of pedestrians, cyclists and cars, so that we can all keep each other safe. 

‘Government and councils need to review guidance, to ensure safe streets.’

Source: Read Full Article