Neglectful husband left stuck wife with pies and water

An "overbearing" husband left his wife with three pork pies and some water when she got wedged down the side of the bed, a court heard today.

David Hargest, 65, who admitted neglect and ill-treatment, said he could not free wife Cheryl because of his bad back.

The pork pies were still sitting on the mattress in their packet when police arrived at the couple's flat, the court was told.

Cardiff Crown Court, where Hargest was given a 36-week suspended sentence, heard how he failed to look after Mrs Hargest properly when he should have been caring for her.

Prosecutor Jon Holmes said the relative of a neighbour, a nurse, became concerned about Mrs Hargest.

"Mr Hargest was overbearing and domineering and she suggests that Mrs Hargest is, to a degree, afraid of him," Mr Holmes said.

On one occasion she found the flat in Butetown, Cardiff, in a poor state with an "overwhelming" smell of urine.

In April, Hargest said his wife had "managed to get herself wedged between the mattresses".

It had happened before, he said, but this time he could not get her out because of his back.

"He said he had left her some pork pies on the mattress so she had something to eat and a bottle of water, but he had clearly left her there," Mr Holmes said.

Police could not see Mrs Hargest in the bedroom at first. They found her lying on the floor between the bed and a chest of drawers.

"The police did notice there was a packet of three unopened pork pies on the mattress near to where Mrs Hargest was on the floor," he said.

At hospital doctors said she was confused, dehydrated, had pressure sores on her back and showed signs of neglect.

Hargest accepted his wife had a history of schizophrenia and epilepsy, Mr Holmes added.

The couple met in 1993 and married in 1996. He started looking after her in 2000.

But he stopped collecting the medication for her epilepsy and was told last December that he needed to bring her in for a review.

Jennet Treharne, mitigating, said at that time his "level of care fell short of what was required".

"Why did he not go to find appropriate medication for her? The reason being that she was in denial herself," she said.

"She was adamant that she would refuse to go, either to the surgery or have a home visit."

She said Hargest accepted he should have gotten help when he could not move his wife.

"It perhaps shows the naivety of his approach that he left the pork pies for her," she added.

"It was not a deliberate assault. It was neglect and it is perhaps against a background of many, many, years of looking after his wife who had considerable problems."

Sentencing Hargest for ill-treating or wilfully neglecting his wife at a time when she lacked mental capacity, Judge Isabel Parry said: "For a period of four months you failed to obtain, as you should have, your wife's medication for her epilepsy."

She added: "The fact that she was uncooperative and unable to do things at your request was a marker to the extent that she needed care, if not from you then from outside agencies."

His sentence was suspended for two years and he will be supervised by a probation officer.