Appeal against conviction allowed in the case of Auriol Grey (the pavement cyclist manslaughter case). Adrian Darbishire KC, Tom Doble and Brad Lewis defending.


Yesterday the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) allowed Auriol Grey’s appeal against her conviction for ‘unlawful act manslaughter’. The case relates to events in October 2020, in which an elderly cyclist, Celia Ward, lost her life. Mrs Ward was cycling along a pavement in Huntingdon, alongside the central ring road. Ms Grey, a 46-year-old with various physical disabilities and a degree of impaired cognitive function, was walking in the opposite direction. As Mrs Ward approached, Ms Grey shouted at her to get off the pavement and made a shooing motion with her arm.  As Mrs Ward drew level with Ms Grey, she turned into the road, lost her balance and was struck by a car. These events were captured by CCTV.

Adrian Darbishire KC, Tom Doble and Brad Lewis, instructed by Ben Rose of Hickman & Rose Solicitors, accepted instructions to act for Ms Grey pro bono in challenging her conviction. She had previously been advised that there were no arguable grounds to do so.

The basis of the appeal was that the legal elements of unlawful act manslaughter were never identified and never explained to the jury. There was simply no identification of the ‘base offence’ that forms the crime or ‘unlawful act’ for this species of offence.  As the Court of Appeal found yesterday morning, this was a “fundamental and material” legal error. The Court had “no hesitation” in concluding that Ms Grey’s conviction was unsafe.  Further, as the Court found, once the legal elements of the offence were properly understood it was clear that there was no proper basis for Ms Grey to be convicted of manslaughter.  As a result, her conviction was quashed today and an application for a retrial refused.

Following the ruling, Grey's family said: "Whilst we welcome the decision of the Court of Appeal our thoughts today are also with the Ward family”.  In a separate statement, Grey's legal team said that neither Mrs Ward's family nor Grey's "should ever have been put through this ordeal".

National press reports are widely accessible: