Pensioner attacked wife with axe handle

A PENSIONER chased and attacked his wife of 46 years with the handle of an axe at their home in Nayland, a court has heard.

A PENSIONER chased and attacked his wife of 46 years with the handle of an axe at their home in Nayland, a court has heard.

Michael Smith, 70, had threatened to kill his wife Doreen before she fled from their bedroom and tried to shut herself inside the lounge.

Despite her attempts to hold the lounge door shut, Smith managed to push his way inside where he struck his wife on both arms with the axe handle, inflicting a broken arm and other injuries.

Smith, of Harpers Estate, Nayland, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday after having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of assault causing grevious bodily harm.

The court was told that the couple had been married for 46 years and had five children, one of whom had moved back in with them.

Claire Forsdyke, prosecuting, said that on June 19, Mrs Smith said that her husband's mood had been "changeable" and he had gone to bed at 8pm.

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She later joined her apparently sleeping husband and was sitting watching TV with her dog when Smith had suddenly reared up and begun shouting at her, said Miss Forsdyke.

After telling his wife to get out, Smith had grabbed an axe handle which he kept beneath a chest of drawers and chased her downstairs where the incident finally ended as the couple's son Robert intervened and restrained his father, but not before Mrs Smith had been injured.

When arrested and interviewed, Smith admitted having punched his wife but said he had never struck her with the axe handle.

Despite the seriousness of the incident and her injuries, Mrs Smith had withdrawn the statement she made to police and had been reluctant to see the prosecution go ahead, said Miss Forsdyke.

Initially Smith had pleaded not guilty when he appeared before magistrates and they sent the case to the Crown Court which was when he changed his plea to one of guilty.

In mitigation Greg Perrins said that references from people who knew Smith well described him as helpful, respectful and a good friend and Smith had expressed remorse for what he had done.

Smith had been married for almost 50 years during which time he and his wife had enjoyed a good relationship, said Mr Perrins.

At the time of the attack Smith had been on medication and was drinking up to three bottles of whisky a week, said Mr Perrins, a combination which he ought not to have taken if he had paid proper attention to the instructions.

Smith had now stopped drinking and was hopeful of being able to resume working when a driving ban, imposed in January for a drink-driving offence, expired, Mr Perrins told the court.

Sentencing Smith, Judge Peter Thompson told him it had been a "nasty assault" and ordered that he completes 80 hours of unpaid community work.

Judge Thompson warned Smith that if he failed to keep his drinking and medication under control and committed further offences the consequences would far more serious.