Pensioner who beat wife jailed

A PENSIONER whose wife stood by him despite his attempt to murder her was jailed yesterday for six years.

Derek Tully, 70, of Worthing, West Sussex, was convicted at Lewes Crown Court last month for repeatedly beating his wife, Valerie, 64, with a pole as she lay in bed before setting fire to their home to destroy the evidence. Tully denied the charge.

Sentencing him, Judge Richard Brown said that a six-year term was the minimum he could impose for such a serious crime, taking into account Tully's previous good character and his apparent lack of motive.

Tully, standing solemnly in a checked jacket, blue shirt and tie, shook his head repeatedly as the judge spoke. As he was led down to the cells he grasped his wife's hand. Mrs Tully did not comment after the hearing.

During a four-week trial, the court was told how Mrs Tully was left critically injured after being attacked at the couple's bungalow in Findon Valley in January last year. She suffered multiple skull fractures and bruising to the brain, back and shoulders.

Before sentence was announced Wendy Joseph, for the defence, urged the judge to consider Mrs Tully's continued devotion to her husband and the despair she had felt since his conviction. The couple had been together since she was 13 and married when she was 16.

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