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Woman guilty of killing friend she pushed down stairs

PUBLISHED: 17:20 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:20 07 August 2020

Rosalind Gray. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Rosalind Gray. PIC: Norfolk Police.

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A jury has taken less than two hours to find a woman guilty of manslaughter after she pushed her friend down the stairs following a row over a holiday to Morocco.

Adrian Lawrence. PIC: Norfolk Police.Adrian Lawrence. PIC: Norfolk Police.

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 an address on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth.

Rosalind Gray, 56, of Marlborough Square, Yarmouth, has been on trial at Norwich Crown Court having denied the murder of Ms Rainey after a witness said the pair argued over finances for a luxury holiday

But the jury of seven women and five men took unanimously found Gray not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

She was also convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between August 5 and August 12 together with her co-defendant Adrian Lawrence, 54, in that they tried to cover up what happened.

The police presence on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth after Linda Rainey (pictured) was confirmed dead after falling down the stairs. Picture: Jamie Honeywood/Norfolk PoliceThe police presence on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth after Linda Rainey (pictured) was confirmed dead after falling down the stairs. Picture: Jamie Honeywood/Norfolk Police

Judge Stephen Holt, who adjourned sentence until September 10 so that reports can be made to assess Gray’s dangerousness, said: “The jury has convicted you of a very serious offence.

“I have to consider whether you fall to be sentenced under the dangerousness provisions and are considered a real danger to the public.”
Andrew Oliver, representing Lawrence, of South Market Road, Yarmouth, did not seek a report for his client as it was “inevitably a custodial sentence”.

The trial, which has lasted just over two weeks, heard how relations soured after Gray mixed-up the flights, which meant the holiday to Marrakech was cancelled and Ms Rainey was £200 out of pocket.

The police presence on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood The police presence on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, 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, on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth.

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 police presence on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood The police presence on South Market Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Ms Rainey died on August 7, last year, two days after being transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, when her life support was turned off.

Mr Jackson added: “Gray deliberately pushed Linda Rainey down a flight of stairs. If you push someone while they are standing at the top of a flight of stairs you intend to cause that person really serious harm or death.”

He said afterwards Gray and Lawrence set about trying to hide what happened and silence a witness Emma Walker.

The jury heard from Lynette King who described how witness Emma Walker confided in her about being in the flat when she saw Gray pushing Ms Rainey, which caused her to fall down a flight of stairs.

The police presence on South Market Road, Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodThe police presence on South Market Road, Yarmouth. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

She said Ms Walker was frightened of Gray but the witness was forceful with Ms Walker about telling the truth and warned that if she did not tell them, then she would phone police herself.

She urged Ms Walker, who was distraught and crying, to come forward and tell police what really happened but she said that she was frightened of Gray.

“She was afraid of Ros [Gray],” she told the court.

She said Ms Walker knew about Gray’s past as she had once carried out an arson attack and on another occasion held a knife to the throat of Ms Walker’s boyfriend.

Ms King said: “She was a quite an angry lady.”

She said she had been forceful with Ms Walker about telling the truth and said she owed it to the family of Ms Rainey to come forward.

Ms King said in the end she phoned police with the agreement of Ms Walker and told them what had happened between Gray and Ms Rainey,

Speaking after the verdict, Det Supt Mike Brown, said “Both Gray and Lawrence knew immediately how serious the actions of Gray were and went to great lengths to cover up everything after Linda had passed away.

“We would like to pay tribute to her family throughout the process and the witnesses likewise.”

Det Supt Brown said the family were a “credit” to Miss Rainey throughout.

He also said that without the co-operation of the witnesses who gave evidence during the trial “we may never have known the truth behind Linda’s tragic death”.


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