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Coronation Street star Bruce Jones abused me for years, says wife

The wife of former Coronation Street star Bruce Jones told a court today he subjected her to years of drink-fuelled physical and emotional abuse.

Jones, 57, who played Les Battersby in the ITV1 soap, is accused at Mold Crown Court of trying to crash the couple's car as they travelled at high speed along a busy road.

Sandra Jones, 59, who has been married to the actor for 26 years, said he was drunk in the passenger seat of their Mercedes M Class when he became angry and grabbed the steering wheel and jerked it up and down, causing the car to swerve dangerously.

Mrs Jones, who was driving the car along the A55 dual carriageway near Holywell, in Flintshire, North Wales, last August, managed to maintain control of the vehicle and bring it to a stop at a nearby pub.

But as she got out of the vehicle, the prosecution say Jones assaulted her by grabbing hold of her wrist.

Jones, of Knutsford Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, is on trial under his real name Ian Roy Jones and denies dangerous driving and common assault.

He played Weatherfield layabout Les for 10 years until 2007.

The jury of six men and six women were earlier warned by trial judge Recorder Simon Medland to put out of their mind any Les Battersby "preconceptions" they may have.

He said: "You are trying an individual and not the character Les Battersby, some of whose attributes are not very pleasant."

Giving evidence, softly-spoken Mrs Jones told the jury of six men and six women she became aware that her husband had a drink problem within six months of their living together.

She said he would get drunk and shout at her, occasionally pushing and grabbing her or knocking over items of furniture.

Questioned about the pattern of her husband's behaviour by Gordon Hennell, prosecuting, Mrs Jones said: "He's hit me with things and thrown things at me.

"Once he hit me that I specifically remember."

Becoming nervous and agitated in the witness box, she said it always took place "when he'd been drinking".

She told the court that on one occasion his behaviour had led their daughter to call the police and an ambulance but added: "In more recent years it has been (him) shouting at me rather than being physical."

Mr Hennell asked her if Jones's departure from Coronation Street had affected his behaviour and she said: "Yes. He was going out (drinking) more during the day and he came home quite drunk.

"He would shout and throw his arms around."

She told the court her usual response was to lock herself in a bedroom or get out of the house and added that physical attacks on her took place "very rarely".

On the night of the alleged driving incident, August 28 last year, Mrs Jones said she picked him up from a pub near their home to drive them both to Abersoch in Gwynedd.

She said he was already drunk when she collected him at 7.30pm and he spent much of the journey agitated over a ring which had belonged to his mother.

She said: "It wasn't an argument, it was him saying things to me and I wasn't saying anything.

"It was about his mother's ring, he was upset."

As the journey continued, Mrs Jones told the court she began "answering back on a couple of things".

Then, as they travelled along the busy road at between 60 and 70mph, she told the court he reached across and grabbed the steering wheel.

Mrs Jones said he jerked the wheel up and down about four or five times with his right hand, causing the car to swerve, though it never left the nearside carriageway or struck any other vehicles.

She said he told her: "I'm going to crash the car."

And she said he repeatedly told her "I'm going to drive the car into a truck" and "I'm going to kill us".

Describing herself as "very scared" at this stage, Mrs Jones said she slowed the car down and left the carriageway at the next junction.

"I wanted to get off the road before something else happened," she said.