17-year sentence for woman who pushed grandmother down stairs
PUBLISHED: 16:53 10 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:55 11 September 2020
The daughter of a woman, who was killed after she was pushed down the stairs by a friend, has described her pain.
Linda Rainey, 60, died on August 7 last year in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, two days after she was found at the bottom of the stairs at a home on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth. It followed a row between her and friend, Rosalind Gray, about a holiday to Morocco.
Gray, 56, was given an extended 17-year-sentence at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday after a jury had found her guilty of the manslaughter of Ms Rainey.
Gray, of Marlborough Square, Great Yarmouth, was also convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between August 5 and August 12 last year together with her co-defendant Adrian Lawrence, 54, in that they tried to cover up what happened.
Sentencing Gray to 13 years in prison with four years on licence, Judge Stephen Holt said she was “entirely responsible” for the death of Ms Rainey and insisted she “couldn’t care less” after the death.
Judge Holt said Lawrence had been the “main mover” in trying to cover up the killing and hailed the bravery of witness Emma Walker who saw the incident and came forward to police despite being pressurised not to.
Judge Holt said both defendants had shown a “complete lack of empathy and remorse” for the death of Ms Rainey.
Lawrence was given a 38-month prison sentence.
Before the defendants were sentenced, the court heard moving victim statements from Ms Rainey’s daughter Louise Pierce who read out her statement in person, describing how their mother had been “snatched from us” and that “losing her has been so painful”.
She described how seeing their mother in hospital would stay with them forever and questioned how the defendants - who were supposed to have been her friends - could have acted in the way they did.
She 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 to make Yorkshire puddings - something I always got wrong without her advice.”
Ms Pierce said they also had the “trauma” of having to go through two trials in the case after the jury had to be discharged in the first trial earlier this year.
The trial, which lasted just over two weeks, heard how relations soured with Ms Rainey after Gray mixed-up flights to Marrakech which meant their holiday was cancelled and Ms Rainey was £200 out of pocket.
Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, had told the jury the pair exchanged messages in which Ms Rainey asked for her money back and Gray called her a “nasty old troll.”
Mr Jackson said the two women argued on August 5 when they unexpectedly met at the flat of Lawrence, 54.
He said: “That argument ended when Gray pushed Linda Rainey in the chest as she stood right at the top of the stairs.”
He said she went flying backwards and ended up at the bottom of the stairs with a fatal brain injury.
The jury were told how afterwards Gray and Lawrence set about trying to hide what happened and silence witness Emma Walker.
The trial also heard from Lynette King who described how Ms Walker confided in her about being in the flat when she saw Gray pushing Ms Rainey.
Gray has seven previous convictions for 25 offences including arson with intent to endanger life for which she received a 10-year jail term in 2010.
Her barrister, Gregory Bull, said Gray had been in the property 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 the victim, adding it was a “spontaneous push” which “happened in a flash”.
Andrew Oliver, for 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 and had been affected by it.
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, offered an apology to Ms Rainey’s family for what had happened. He said: “I can’t ask for forgiveness, but I hope they accept my apology.”
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