3:00pm Wednesday 20th June 2012
A NEWPORT man took his ex-mother in law out to thank her for looking after him when he had a heart attack - but ended up attacking her and breaking her arm in three places.
Michael Watts, of Commercial Road, Newport, got so drunk and foul-mouthed in a Cotswold pub that he was asked to leave - and then tried to fight his own son, Matthew, on the way out.
When his former mother-in-law Thursa Heath, of Moreton-in-Marsh, got between the father and son to stop the fight, 62-year-old Watts lashed out at her, Gloucester crown court heard.
She was knocked back against a wall, hitting her left arm and head, and then fell forward onto her face, said prosecutor Julian Kesner.
Mrs Heath suffered a three part proximal fracture of the humerus very near the shoulder, he said.
Yet despite her injury Mrs Heath said in a statement that she did not want to see Watts go to prison because of the effect it would have on his son and family.
Watts, a £24,000 a year electrician, admitted unlawfully inflicting grievous bodily harm on the 65-year-old outside the Talbot pub in Stow-on-the-Wold, on Feb 12 this year.
Recorder Michael Patterson told him: "You had been drinking all that day with the family. You were drinking wine and Jack Daniels.
"As a result you became drunk and you were asked to leave the Talbot. You refused to leave and while your family were endeavouring to usher you out you behaved aggressively towards them, shouting and swearing at the barman and squaring up to your son who was trying to assist.
"Fearing violence, Mrs Heath stood between you and your son and you then either hit her or pushed her in the face. She fell back and hit her head against a wall then fell on her face.
"Her left arm also hit the wall causing the most serious injury of the episode.
"She had a three part proximal humerus fracture which was so close to the shoulder that it could not be set in the ordinary way.
"You have no recollection of this incident but you have expressed remorse about it. You say it was a one off incident, out of character, and that appears to be the case."
In a statement, Mrs Heath said "It was a serious injury and I may have to have an operation in future to pin it if it doesn't heal of its own accord.
"I was shocked he could have such a change of personality from drinking that it resulted in me being assaulted.
"The injuries are painful and will take a long time to heal.
"But I don't want this incident to affect the relationship between him and his son or prevent him from working. I am aware he could be facing a prison sentence. I am horrified at the thought of him going to prison.
"I bear him no malice. Although I want justice to be done I don't want to prevent Matthew from seeing his father in the future."
Lucy Beale, defending, said Watts is full of remorse over the way he had treated a lady with whom he had such a close relationship for many years "He has had no contact with her since the incident but he does wish to write to her or contact her to apologise."
Recorder Patterson sentenced Watts to 12 months jail suspended for a year, ordered him to do 180 hours unpaid work and also ordered him to pay Mrs Heath £1,000 compensation within 3 months.
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