Pensioner attacked wife after row over loud music

Burnley Magistrates' Court.
Burnley Magistrates' Court.

A "controlling" pensioner who attacked his wife of almost 40 years with a TV remote control after her Bible class, had previously told her she might die at his hands - but claimed it was a joke.

Albert Dakers Williamson (65) was said to have assaulted Dorothy Williamson 10 years ago, after they had watched a news report about a man who had killed his wife.

The defendant had turned to the victim and said: "If you're not careful, that's what could happen to you." Mrs Williamson, now 70, took it so seriously she went and got legal advice, Burnley magistrates were told.

On January 26th, angry Williamson, with his "face screwed up", set about his wife in a sustained beating, using the remote control as a weapon after they fell out over his loud music and she was said to have turned it off.

Williamson, who had been drinking McEwans Export beer, rained blows on her head, leaving her gashed, bleeding, bruised and with a black eye.

The hearing was told the pair are now separated after the victim left him and she has no plans for them to get back together. Williamson, according to a probation officer who interviewed him, was hopeful they would reconcile. Since the violence the defendant had been to see his GP and had been referred for help with anger management.

The retired defendant, who is living in the matrimonial home at Wellfield Drive, Burnley, admitted assault by beating. He was given a 12-month community order, with 140 hours unpaid work and must pay £200 compensation, £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. He had no previous convictions.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Robinson said the Williamsons had been together for 43 years and married for 36 of them.

The victim described her husband as "controlling". She reported an assault in 2006, when they saw the news item. Mrs Williamson was shocked and consulted a solicitor.

Mr Robinson said on January 26th, the defendant had some alcohol with his tea, she went out and when she returned at 9-30pm, he was still drinking and listening to loud music. They argued, she asked him to turn it off or down and he wouldn't.
The prosecutor said the defendant became angry. Mr Robinson continued: "He came towards her. He had the television remote control and a bottle in his hands. He shouted in her face, 'Do you want a slap?' She was slapped to the face and at that point she did return the slap to his face."

Mr Robinson said Williamson struck his wife with the remote control. He continued: "She says he continued to hit her to the head. Some of the blows hit her arms because she was defending herself and he wouldn't stop hitting her." The victim managed to push her attacker away. She felt blood coming from her head.

The prosecutor said Mrs Williamson phoned the police and they arrived to find her shaking and in pain.

Mr Geoff Ireland, in mitigation, told the hearing Williamson didn't accept there had been a previous assault.

The solicitor said the remark, "If you're not careful that's what could happen to you", was made perhaps 10 years ago. Mr Ireland continued: "He says he said that tongue in cheek. It was meant as a humorous comment and I don't think he appreciated his wife had taken it seriously and had taken legal advice."

Mr Ireland said Mrs Williamson left her husband at home while she went to Bible class. "He says he never drinks more then two bottles. He wasn't swigging it back. He was drinking it as he was watching a programme and was listening to music."

The solicitor said: "He accepts what took place was entirely unacceptable and so far as he is concerned it's completely out of character. There's genuine remorse here."

Mr Ireland added: "It's very sad that this case is going to result in the end of the marriage. It seems the defendant accepts his wife doesn't want to go back. He acknowledges he is probably going to have to sell the house, move elsewhere, split the assets they have and that's the end of a 40-odd year relationship.

"He has been to see his doctor because he was concerned about completely over-reacting and he has been referred to some kind of counselling service."