Disability news

Family challenge decision to send disabled woman to prison

Auriol Grey arriving at Peterborough Crown Court

The family of a disabled woman serving a three year sentence for verbal abuse claim the judge “effectively ignored” how vulnerable she is.

Auriol Grey, 49,  who has cerebral palsy, cognitive health problems and vision loss, was sent to prison after she told 77-year-old cyclist Celia Ward to “get off the fucking pavement” before they were killed by a car on a busy road earlier this month.

Grey’s brother-in-law Alisdair Luxmoor said Mrs Ward’s death was a “tragic accident” and the defendant’s loved ones were “horrified” by the fatal accident.

He believed Grey was “treated as if she was able-bodied” and challenged the judge’s decision handing her a prison sentence.

Luxmoor told The Times: "Then there was the horror at the thought of her being sent to [prison].

"How can you put a disabled person in a place like that?

"The judge basically treated her as if she was able-bodied...the onus was put on her to get out of the way of the cyclist."

He added that Grey’s family is “desperately sorry” for Mrs Ward's family and friends.

Grey had been described as “childlike” and a reclusive, after living in special accommodation funded by a charity.

The fatal incident happened in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, on 20 October, 2020. CCTV footage of police questioning Grey shows the woman telling officers she ‘can’t remember’ what happened. 

"I think that the bike may have, if it swerved, onto the road," she said.

When asked if she touched Ward on her bike, Grey answered: “Only in a vague way” and it was just “lightly”.

Grey admitted she told Ward to “slow down” but told officers she could not recall swearing at her.

When police quizzed Grey on why she did not remain at the scene, she said she “didn’t know” it was compulsory to do so.

Her lawyer Miranda Moore KC told the judge before her sentencing that if Grey was sent to prison there was a chance she could lose her home.

Moore said: "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 have no one to store her possessions. She doesn't know what will happen to them."

[ The judge said Grey's actions were "not explained by disability". ]

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