Petrified wife tries to flee Stoke-on-Trent home in desperate bid to get away from hammer-wielding husband



Roofer Stephen Ward assaulted his wife, damaged her car and bombarded her with dozens of unwanted calls and texts.

The 39-year-old pushed her to the ground and grabbed her hair before holding a hammer towards her in a threatening manner.

Weeks later he smashed the back window of her car with a roof tile.

And then when he was ordered not to contact his wife he made a series of texts and calls and even banged on her window.

The offences put Ward in breach of a 12-week suspended jail sentence for drink-driving.

Now Ward has been jailed for 19 weeks at North Staffordshire Justice Centre.

Prosecutor Sara Beddow said the defendant had a petty argument with his wife on February 1.

She added: “Things escalated. He was verbally challenging towards her. She went to the shops to let the situation calm down. She returned and he said, ‘Come here and give me a hug’. She asked why he shouted at her and he became aggressive again.

“She went in the kitchen. He followed her and started shouting at her.

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“He walked towards her in an aggressive manner. She flinched. He grabbed her wrist. He reached and grabbed the back of her neck. He pushed her to the ground and grabbed her hair.”

The victim went to leave the house and the defendant said, ‘You are not going anywhere’, and locked the doors.

Miss Beddow added: “He picked up a hammer and said, ‘I am going to smash your car and then you can’t go anywhere’.

“She went to get the hammer off him. He held it towards her in a threatening manner. She felt very scared.

“Within minutes he threw the keys at her and said, ‘If you are going, just go’.”

Ward made 24 calls to his wife on March 21 – on the same day he smashed up her car.

He then made 13 calls and sent seven texts between midnight and 8.30am on April 9. He visited the property hours later.

Miss Beddow added: “She saw the defendant. He looked angry. He was demanding to be let in.”

Ward, of Hazeldene Road, Trentham, pleaded guilty to charges of harassment, assault by beating, threatening to cause criminal damage, criminal damage, and breaching a suspended sentence order.

The court heard the defendant’s drinking is linked to his offending.

Richard Oldroyd, mitigating, said: “For the first time he has accepted he has a problem with drink. He can go 21 days without a drink, then this behaviour occurs.”

He said Ward has paid for the damage to the car.

Mr Oldroyd added: “He is ashamed of himself.”

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District Judge Timothy Boswell said: “You assaulted your wife. You picked up a hammer and said you were going to smash her car and held it in a threatening manner towards her. A few weeks later you made good on your threat to damage her car and the rear window was smashed.

“You breached your bail conditions on April 9 by sending her messages, texts and calls and by banging on the window.

“Your behaviour has been frightening for her. You need to be careful about the way you behave when you are released from custody.”

Ward must pay a £122 surcharge.





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