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Husband cleared of assaulting love rival

PUBLISHED: 13:15 18 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich decorator has been cleared of breaking his love rival's arm with an iron bar.

It took a jury at Ipswich Crown Court less than 15 minutes to acquit 39-year-old Robert Ward of attacking his wife's lover, Ipswich landlord Michael Kerry.

AN Ipswich decorator has been cleared of breaking his love rival's arm with an iron bar.

It took a jury at Ipswich Crown Court less than 15 minutes to acquit 39-year-old Robert Ward of attacking his wife's lover, Ipswich landlord Michael Kerry.

Speaking today, Mr Ward said: "It's like the world off my shoulders. I can get on with my life now because this has been hanging over me for nine months.

"Last night was the first night's sleep I've had for ages."

Defence counsel maintained that after a five-year love feud between Robert Ward and Michael Kerry, it was Mr Ward, not Kerry, who had been attacked in a late night scuffle.

Defender Rupert Overbury said: "Kerry has told a pack of lies. He wanted to get rid of Robert Ward so he could have Donna Ward all to himself."

During the two-day trial, a jury heard how mother-of-three Mrs Ward had spent almost five years flitting between her husband and Mr Kerry.

Michael Kerry, landlord of the Silver Star pub, in Vernon Street, claimed he went to Mr Ward's caravan, parked in Foxhall, with Kevin Taylor and Donna's brothers Shane and Mark, to "sort things out."

Rather than make peace, the defence maintained Mr Kerry had arrived "mob handed" in order to get Mr Ward out of the way and claim his lover "all to himself".

When they arrived they found Donna, who lived at Weyland Road, Witnesham, and her husband in the caravan.

Rupert Overbury said: "He arrived at 11pm with three other men. If his intention was to sort things out, why did he arrive so late? If the concern was for Donna's safety why the need for four men?"

Mr Overbury compared the characters of the three men, Kevin Taylor, and Mark and Shane Langan to the "impeccable" character of Mr Ward.

He asked the jury to compare the aggressive and confrontational attitude of Mr Kerry and Mark Langan, who both gave evidence in court, with Mr Ward's "meek and mild-mannered" nature.

He said: "The contrast between the two of them could not be starker. Between them the four men that went to Mr Ward's caravan have records of violence, dishonesty and drug dealing."

In court prosecutor Hugh Vass claimed that Mr Ward had flown at Mr Kerry, breaking his arm with an iron bar.

In his first police interview on October 8, Ward, who denied grievous bodily harm, said: "I was attacked by four men.

"I wanted to protect my wife. I heard Donna shout at Kerry, 'I love my husband. Why don't you give us a chance?' "

During the hearing Mr Ward said he and his wife were back together and trying "to work things out".

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