Pensioner held knife to cancer-stricken wife's throat

First published in News

A PENSIONER repeatedly threw water over his cancer-stricken wife before holding a knife to her throat in an hour-long attack in front of her terrified teenage daughter, a court heard.

Peter Clarke had been married to Doreen Harvey for just 18 months when he flew into a rage at her when she refused to hand over his car keys, because they had been out drinking.

They lived together in Dowles Road, Kidderminster, at the time of the attack on October 30 last year.

Prosecutor Nicolas Berry said she had gone to bed when he demanded his keys back and when she refused he poured several jugs of water over her, later telling police he had been "trying to bring her to her senses."

Her 15-year-old daughter brought her a towel as the argument moved downstairs and then he told her: "I'm going to cut your head off."

Mr Berry said Clarke then whipped a kitchen knife from his bag and held it near his wife's throat, moving it up and down in a "chopping" motion as her daughter screamed and begged him to stop.

He said Mrs Harvey was suffering from cancer and was very weak and unable to defend herself.

The court heard that Mrs Harvey was able to phone police and Clarke waited in the house until officers arrived, when he was arrested.

Clarke, 72, now of Bransdale Close, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to assault by battery and affray.

Judge Robert Juckes QC said a pre-sentence report showed Clarke was sorry for what happened and had made efforts to make amends.

"It was a serious offence because of the use of the knife, which must have been truly terrifying for both mother and daughter," he said.

"But you, having committed the offence, since then have done what you can to make matters right. I have every reason to expect that you will continue to do so."

He gave him a two-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with a supervision requirement. He will also have to complete a victim awareness workshop and pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Speaking from the dock, Clarke assured the judge he "intended to comply" with all the court orders.

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