Colchester Gazette (1977)

The Story Behind the Headline

Freed – husband who killed nagging wife

Reginald Elliot strangled his wife, Doreen, with a belt and two pieces of cloth before putting two plastic bags over her head. He said Doreen was always complaining and with a ‘vicious look on her face’ she had shouted at him and accused him of carrying on with other women. He was cleared of murder though convicted of manslaughter and given three years probation. Mr. Justice Croom Johnson said he had never come across a case where anyone had endured so much as Reginald Elliot.

(1977)

The Story Behind the Headline

Man who battered mistress has sentence cut by half

David Brasswell battered his mistress, Mrs Rouse, with the leg of an iron bedstead because she taunted him about his sexual prowess. Convicted of GBH and jailed for eight years he got his sentence reduced to four years because Lord Justice Scarman felt he had been subjected to very real provocation ‘in the matter of his manhood.’

Essex County Standard (1977)

The Story Behind the Headline

Wells jailed ten years for manslaughter

Maurice Wells had a history of domestic violence and eventually his wife, Suzanne, went to the refuge in Bury St Edmunds. Maurice went on holiday in the Caribbean. On his return he borrowed a 12-bore shot gun because he wanted to shoot rabbits. He then persuaded his wife to return home. Five days later he shot Suzanne, first, from 3ft 6ins in the lower chest and, second, from 7ft in the back. Maurice Wells was cleared of murder though convicted of manslaughter and given 10 years.

Colchester Leader (1977)

The Story Behind the Headline

‘Wife in bath’ man goes free

Robert Wilkinson got fed up with his wife, Shirley, because she went out too much when he wanted her to spend more time at home with him as ‘I wanted to make myself top dog’. He therefore put on a pair of rubber gloves and sank an electric hairdryer in his wife’s bath. The electric shock Shirley experienced failed to kill her and Robert was cleared of attempted murder and left court a free man.

(1991)

The Story Behind the Picture

On 29th April 1991 twenty-one-year-old Vandana Patel had taken refuge in Stoke Newington police station to escape her violent husband who then followed her to the station. There, despite her protests, he persuaded the police to agree to his request for a ‘reconciliation’ meeting with her inside the station. He then used the meeting to stab his wife to death. No action was taken against the police.

YOU CAN'T BEAT A WOMAN

Founding Women's Refuges: a Heritage Lottery project

View Project