Woman, 56, who killed her 60-year-old friend is jailed for 13 years

Woman, 56, who killed her 60-year-old friend by pushing her down the stairs in row over £200 owed for cancelled Moroccan holiday is jailed for 13 years

  • Rosalind Gray, 56, was once pictured on a mobility scooter with a brick in hand
  • She owed grandmother Linda Rainey £200 after trip to Marrakesh cancelled 
  • Gray was guilty of manslaughter and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
  • Judge Stephen Holt gave Gray an extended sentence of 13 years in prison

A woman has been jailed for 13 years after killing her 60-year-old friend by pushing her down the stairs in a row over £200 owed for a cancelled Moroccan holiday.

Rosalind Gray, 56, was once pictured on a mobility scooter with a brick in one hand, a walking stick in the other and a cigarette balanced between her teeth.

She owed grandmother Linda Rainey £200 after their trip to Marrakesh was cancelled because of a flight mix-up. 

The two women exchanged messages in which Ms Rainey asked for her money back and Gray called her a ‘nasty old troll’.

Rosalind Gray, 56, was once pictured on a mobility scooter with a brick in one hand, a walking stick in the other and a cigarette balanced between her teeth

The jury were told of some of the 5,493 text messages exchanged between Gray and Ms Rainey from December 24, 2018, until July 31 last year. 

They argued again when they unexpectedly met up at the home of mutual friend Adrian Lawrence, 54, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Norwich Crown Court heard how the row led to Gray pushing Ms Rainey in the chest at the top of the stairs so she went flying backwards and landed at the bottom with a fatal brain injury.

The mother-of-five died two days later on August 7 last year without regaining consciousness after having her life support turned off in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

She owed grandmother Linda Rainey (pictured) £200 after their trip to Marrakesh was cancelled because of a flight mix-up. Rainey was killed after Gray pushed her down the stairs

Gray, of Great Yarmouth, and Lawrence set out to pretend her death was an accident and tried to silence witness Emma Walker, who had been in the flat.

But Ms Walker spoke to police three days after Ms Rainey’s death, on August 10, and revealed what happened.

Gray was cleared of murder, but a jury took less than two hours to find her guilty of manslaughter at an earlier trial.

She and Lawrence were also convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between August 5 and August 12 last year.

Judge Stephen Holt gave Gray an extended sentence of 13 years in prison followed by four years on licence, and jailed Lawrence for 38 months.

The court heard Gray had seven previous convictions for 25 offences including arson with intent to endanger life for which she received a 10-year jail term in 2010.

Gray (pictured) of Great Yarmouth, was cleared of murder, but a jury took less than two hours to find her guilty of manslaughter at an earlier trial

Judge Holt said Gray was ‘entirely responsible’ for the death of Ms Rainey and insisted she ‘couldn’t care less’ about it.

He told her ‘it should have been blindingly obvious to you that pushing someone backwards down stairs was high risk.’

Judge Holt described Lawrence as the ‘main mover’ in trying to cover up the killing and hailed the bravery of witness Ms Walker who came forward to police despite facing pressure to stay quiet.

He added that both defendants had shown a ‘complete lack of empathy and remorse’.

Ms Rainey’s daughter Louise Pierce read a victim impact statement on behalf of her family, describing how her mother had been ‘snatched from us’ and that ‘losing her has been so painful’.

Gray and Ms Rainey argued  when they unexpectedly met up at the home of mutual friend Adrian Lawrence (pictured), 54, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Judge Holt described Lawrence as the ‘main mover’ in trying to cover up the killing

She said the sight of her mother in hospital would stay with her forever and questioned how the defendants – who were supposed to have been her friends – could act as they did.

Ms Pierce said: ‘It breaks my heart that I will never get to call her to ask her advice on anything, whether it’s to do with my daughter or how to make Yorkshire puddings, something I always got wrong without her reminders!’

She added that she her family also had the ‘trauma’ of having to go through two trials after the jury had to be discharged in the first trial earlier this year.

The trial heard how Gray and Lawrence told Ms Walker to hide in another room when paramedics arrived to treat Ms Rainey as she ‘couldn’t be trusted to stay quiet’.

They later threatened her to keep quiet at a meeting in a pub, but she found the courage to come forward.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said Ms Rainey’s death would have been an ‘undetected perfect murder’ if it had been put down to a tragic accident.

He described Gray as having a ‘propensity for violence’. 

One message allegedly sent by Gray described Ms Rainey a ‘nasty old bag’.

Ms Rainey’s (pictured) daughter Louise Pierce read a victim impact statement

Another sent by Gray at 10.11pm on July 30 called her former friend ‘vile’ and a ‘nasty old troll’ and urged her to ‘enjoy your lonely life’.

Ms Rainey replied that Gray owed her £200. In the last message between them at 12.02am on July 31, she said ‘come on sweet, bring it on’.

Gregory Bull, defending Gray, had been in the flat for just 20 or 25 minutes before the incident and insisted it was ‘not a case of premeditation or any form of planning’.

Mr Bull said there was ‘no evidence to say this was a ferocious attack or a really hard push’.

He said there had been no viciousness from Gray towards Ms Rainey, describing it as a ‘spontaneous push’ which ‘happened in a flash’.

Andrew Oliver, defending Lawrence, who has nine convictions for 17 offences, said custody was ‘inevitable’.

He said Lawrence was an alcoholic and had been drinking ‘a huge amount of alcohol’ at the time.

Mr Oliver said it was not sophisticated or well planned and was an ‘immediate reaction to a fast-moving incident’.

Lawrence, who appeared by videolink, apologised to Ms Rainey’s family, saying: ‘I can’t ask for forgiveness, but I hope they accept my apology.’

Gray posed for her picture of her on the mobility scooter with a brick in June 2018 with a social media caption saying: ‘lol you can take the girl out of Hemel but you cant take Hemel out of the girl lol I found this thing outside the pub with a brick in the basket it tickled me lol x’

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Brown of Norfolk Police said: ‘The sentencing reflects the seriousness of Rosalind Gray and Adrian Lawrence’s actions that night and in the days following Linda’s death.

‘I would like to thank the witness for their bravery and assistance throughout our investigation and during the trial.

‘Without their honest and consistent account of the circumstances leading up to, and during the days after the incident, we may not have ever known the truth behind Linda’s untimely and tragic death.

‘While Linda’s family have seen justice, nothing can make up for their loss and I can only hope the sentence will go some way in helping them during this difficult time.’

FULL FAMILY STATEMENT FROM LINDA RAINEY’S DAUGHTER LOUISE PIERCE 

‘The morning we all received news of our mum being in hospital started off as a normal day, suddenly from 4 different directions and distances we were heading to a hospital to be by our mum’s side. We held on to hope that a miracle would happen, but it didn’t.

‘We got to be with mum for a night until her machines were switched off. Seeing her the way we saw her, is something that will stay in our memories forever. Even our final goodbyes now feel snatched from us as we had tried to seek comfort in the fact she had been having a good time, however this was of course not true.

‘Nothing was about to get easier for us all, the investigation meant we had the gruelling wait to be able to lay mum to rest.

‘A just giving page helped us to fund a funeral we would have struggled to afford; through these donations we saw how loved mum was and how much she meant to so many, while this was lovely it was also heart breaking to witness the shock and sadness mum’s death has had on not only family and friends but communities too. Life since losing mum has been very surreal.

‘No more will we see her smiling, dancing, singing, or eating ‘her cheesy puffs’ that she was so fond of. No more would our children, her grandchildren, be able to have a chat about their day and what they’ve been up to at school or nursery.

‘Milestones will be missed, not only with her grandchildren, including my daughter starting school, but also her own children. Mum won’t be at my sister Rachels forthcoming wedding; every mum should be there to see their daughter get married. Bobbi and her partner Tyler soon to buy their first home; Mum would have been running about helping and celebrating this milestone with them, and Charlie’s 30th Birthday where mum would have been the life and soul of the party showing off her classic dance moves.

‘It breaks my heart that I will never get to call her to ask her advice on anything, whether it’s to do with my daughter or how to make Yorkshire puddings, something always got wrong without her reminders!

‘Almost everyday my 4 year old daughter talks about the ‘Star in the Sky’ that is her Nana. have to hold back the tears; how can I explain it? It’s the same for her 7 year old grandson and we just hope he’s old enough to remember her; Mum, his Nanny lived with him for some time and he saw her nearly every day. They had such a close bond and he’s struggling to adjust to not seeing his best friend every day. Mum’s older grandchildren who are 10 and 14 are undergoing counselling as this ordeal has impacted them both at home and at school.

‘Those of us who haven’t had children are sad to know Mum will never meet them, she adored her grandchildren, they adored her.

‘Mum was an organ donor and we take some small comfort in knowing that both of her kidneys have helped two different women. Both women contacted us expressing gratitude at being given another chance at life, with one making particular reference to now being able to spend more time with her grandchildren and we just know mum would be over the moon with this. To say we are proud of our mum is an understatement.

‘Christmas and New Year were particularly difficult times for us last year. The New Year brought only dread of the trial we would have to face, and unknowingly at that time we were unaware that we would end up having to face the trauma of going through a trial on two separate occasions.

‘This has impacted us significantly by have to re-live it all again.. My gut wrenched at the thought of having our first Mother’s Day without her and knowing that we will never get the opportunity spend another Mother’s Day with her.

‘Waiting for and preparing for the trial has taken its toll on all of us both physically and mentally. Trying to cope with all of this whilst holding down full-time jobs, keeping homes and raising children had at times felt impossible. It feels like the trial means that 12 months after losing Mum we still haven’t been able to properly grieve.

‘As some of us have been witnesses its only been during the trial that we could get some of the answers we have so desperately needed to help in this process.

‘But similarly hearing during the trial of how our mum spent her last moments will probably haunt us forever more. Listening to messages that she was sent with almost bullying words makes me sick to the stomach. No one should ever be made to feel unsafe.

‘The 999-call recording we heard, knowing our mum at that time was fighting for life right next to the same people who were supposed to be her friends; friends who didn’t even go with mum in the ambulance or to hospital to hold her hand until we could be there.

‘Losing mum in these circumstances has torn a hole right through the centre of our worlds. Between us it has caused us to have significant time off work, and suffer with depression and anxiety.

‘She should still be with us now. We all do our best to talk about the fun times we’ve all had together. Losing her has been so painful. The lies surrounding it only make the pain harder.’

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