A disabled woman jailed for causing the death of an elderly cyclist after gesturing and swearing at her has been bullied throughout her life, and fears she will be taunted and abused by fellow inmates, her close friend has revealed.

Auriol Grey, who is partially blind and has a cleft foot and walks with a supportive splint on her right leg, has grown up being the target of cruel jibes with even callous passers-by on the street laughing at her, cursing her and calling her a ’spastic.’


Her sole pal, a kind-hearted family man, who for years has helped her bravely battle on and is the only one who supported and comforted her through her terrifying court ordeal which led to a conviction and three year prison term for manslaughter, said: ’She is a good person, a lovely person and is very remorseful for what happened but because of her disability people are not very nice to her. They are horrible.’

Her trusted friend, who declined to be named to protect his privacy, spoke to MailOnline exclusively to help paint the true picture of the woman, whose family are estranged from her because she ‘is different.’

Her own mother even turned her back on her daughter ‘because she sees Auriol as a failure,’ her pal said.

On Thursday last week Grey, 49, was caged for manslaughter after she gestured in a ‘hostile and aggressive’ way to Celia Ward, 77, whom she told to ‘get off the f***ing pavement’ as she cycled towards her in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire in October 2020.

She had pleaded not guilty but convicted at a re-trial at Peterborough Crown Court after a jury at her first trial had failed to reach a verdict.

The incident led to Mrs Ward, a retired midwife, to veer into the road before falling over the front of her bicycle and being struck by a car that was unable to stop. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her friend spoke to her by phone on the day after her incarceration in the hospital wing at a Cambridgeshire women’s prison (Peterborough) – and confirmed she is appealing her sentence.

He said: ’Auriol had been dreading going into prison and had expecting to get a two-year suspended sentence at worst. But she seems OK, she’s surprisingly in good spirits. I thought she would be in a right state.

’She was expecting it to be like a dungeon with horrible people but so far the staff have been treating her well.

’She is in the medical unit at a holding jail but is worried that when she starts mixing with the other female prisoners or is moved elsewhere she will be the victim of bullying which has happened her whole life.

’She thinks she’ll be picked on.’

He added: ‘She asked me to cancel all her appointments for doctor and dentist as she wasn’t expecting to be locked up.

‘But she said ‘If I’m a good girl I’ll be out of here in a year and a half!’

‘I hope to go and visit her as no one else will.’

Grey suffers from cerebral pals and has cognitive issues, which restricts her mobility.

She lived a ‘sad and lonely’ existence, relying mainly on her friend for company.

She is a member of The Blind Society which arranged occasional days out she sometimes joined.

One such happy event was a tea party to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June last year – a pensive Auriol, wearing a lilac cardigan, is pictured in MailOnline’s exclusive photo.

She is described as being ‘childlike’ and ‘vulnerable’ as she single-handedly battled through her challenging life, struggling to make ends meet and surviving on state benefits.

She never married and has no partner, living alone for the past 17 years in an adapted home in Huntingdon town centre.

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

Her friend, who also helps her fellow neighbours with special needs, gave a fascinating insight into her life.

Auriol Grey, who tragically suffered a brain injury at birth leading to cerebral palsy, had a privileged upbringing.

Home for the former convent schoolgirl was a castle, it is understood.

She apparently lived at Hunstanton Hall as a child – a moated country house in Norfolk, former ancestral home of the eminent Le Strange family – in the West Wing with her wealthy parents and elder sister.

Her pal said: ‘Her family are very posh and she sounds very la-di-da. She had a very good education and with her voice you’d think she’d gone to Roedean finishing school.

’There’s more to Auriol than meets the eye!’

He explained: ‘She went to a Catholic convent in a remote part of Norfolk. When she was younger her disability was more severe and she was even abused at her school.

’She was taught to pray but was not very religious and because of that the nuns told her she was not a good person and she was disabled because God was punishing her, and that she would go to Hell.’

’Throughout her life some people have not been very nice to her. The scumbags on the roads have been horrible to her.

’They have seen her walking along, mainly lads on scooters, and have cursed and sworn at her, shouting ‘Get off the path, you spastic.’

‘People can be very cruel but she has got used to it over the years. Most of the time she copes alone.

After the horror that happened nearly two-and-a-half years ago Grey has been ’stressing out,’ her friend said.

The man, who has known her for 26 years, attended both her trials but was never called as a defence character witness, revealed: ’She is very remorseful and can’t believe what happened and was in shock.

’She’s very sorry for the woman who died and the driver who accidentally ran her over.

’She doesn’t show emotion like people without disability, she’s not capable of expressing herself, and when she gets anxious or scared she bites her arm.

‘She does it in frustration and has been frantically biting her arm over this case, it’s dragged on for more than two years.

’Auriol didn’t push the cyclist, she didn’t touch her. The woman on the bike was about to pass her side, her bad right side, and she waved her hand in warning.

’She very angry and upset she was charged and then convicted for manslaughter, and as her friend and supporter I cannot believe the authorities have been so cruel to a person in her condition, and is severely handicapped.

‘When she was arrested, the officers made her cry, they were trying to force her to admit to what had happened, and told her she’d done it on purpose.’

Her pal, who drove her to court every day throughout her two trials, strongly refuted some claims that Grey has ‘a temper.’

He said: ’She reacts to stuff in a different way and finds it difficult to express herself, she may get angry for a second.’

On the day of the fateful pavement confrontation she had been on her way to a doctor’s surgery to drop off a prescription for medication.

In panic she left the scene and went to the nearby Sainsbury store to buy groceries – part of her daily routine.

Her friend explained: ‘What happened wad catastrophic and people at the scene could see she was in a state and one person told her to go.’

Later Grey expressed her feelings in her diary, with her pal explaining: ’She writes things down in her diary because she forgets things, and she wrote that she was very, very sorry.


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