Bishop’s Waltham pensioner assaulted wife over sailor comment

Godfrey Heath
Godfrey Heath
  • Pensioner, 77, admitted assaulting his wife of 55 years
  • She needed surgery after injury to ear
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A PENSIONER assaulted his wife after she told him of her encounter with a sailor more than 55 years ago.

Godfrey Heath, 77, of Beeches Hill, Bishop’s Waltham, assaulted his electric wheelchair-using wife of 55 years at their home.

he was a particularly vulnerable victim at that time

Recorder David Bartlett

Prosecutor Roderick Blain said Heath’s wife Gillian, 74, suffered a ‘cauliflower’ ear in the assault.

Mr Blain said the victim had been on morphine following a spine operation when she made a comment about the encounter before their marriage.

He said: ‘This seems to have incensed the defendant and he’s become obsessed with it.

‘On October 5, 2014 police attended the home address of the defendant and Mrs Heath and son was present and an officer talked with the defendant.’

He added: ‘The officer said he seemed to be obsessed with it.’

A social worker was later sent to the house and heard Heath said he would continue challenging his wife until he got to the truth, Mr Blain said.

He added: ‘She describes getting a bash from the defendant to the head which caused a cauliflower ear.’

Builder Heath then took her to hospital where she had to undergo surgery on her ear.

It happened between November 15 and December 16 last year.

Reading her victim personal statement, Mr Blain said: ‘She says she spent all of her adult life with him being on edge any time he’s around. It’s a relief he’s no longer here.

‘I know he’s currently in prison but she now lives in fear that he may be released.’

He added: ‘Both Gillian Heath and the two children of the marriage describe the defendant as being controlling, abusive and threatening.

‘In fairness to the defendant Mrs Heath also says he was always hard working and generous.’

Mrs Heath is living at the home they shared, which Heath built, and fears she could have to move out.

Sentencing Heath to 16 months in prison Recorder David Bartlett said: ‘She was a particularly vulnerable victim at that time.’

He added: ‘She had some sort of relationship with someone in the navy 57 years ago before you were married.

‘There’s no doubt that you have became obsessed by this.’

He added: ‘It’s quite irrational behaviour.’

Mr Bartlett imposed a restraining order barring Heath from contacting his wife or daughter or from going to the family home while Mrs Heath unless by prior arrangement.

Frank Abbott, defending, passed a printout of a story from a Hampshire regional newspaper which covered the Heaths.

He told the judge the article, which covered Heath complaining about a delay in Mrs Heath’s surgery, showed he was a carer for her.

Mr Abbott said: ‘He’s effectively been a devoted father and husband and what’s happened has gone wrong in a short period of time.’

Heath admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm on a basis.