Probation for nurse who ran over husband

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A nurse who ran over her husband after being subjected to 20 years of physical and mental abuse by him was placed on probation yesterday.

Bristol Crown Court was told that Hilary Bertham, 41, was treated in hospital after several violent attacks by her husband, Phillip, and last year suffered internal bleeding to her kidneys.

She finally snapped after the couple had a row and drove her car at him intending only to 'frighten' him. Mr Bertham, also 41, suffered a broken leg.

Sentencing Bertham to two years' probation, after she admitted causing grievous bodily harm, Judge Colin Willis urged her to repair the relationship.

The court had heard that the mother of four, from Clevedon, near Bristol, Avon, had suffered years of violent attacks at the hands of her husband, a manic depressive. Despite numerous assaults, she still felt warmth and affection for him. But after a row last August, started by Mr Bertham, she snapped and drove at him.

Simon Quadrat, for the prosecution, said: 'This was a reckless act on her part, not one where she intended to cause injury.'

Bertham blamed her husband for causing her mother to suffer a heart attack. They began throwing things around and he went to a neighbour's home to ask for the police to be called.

Mr Quadrat said Mr Bertham saw his wife drive towards him and tried to get away, but she struck him on the leg and drove off, leaving him with a broken leg.

The court heard that Mr Bertham had written a letter saying he was quite satisfied that his wife had not realised what she had done when she drove off.

After the case Bertham said: 'I am relieved it is all over . . . I still love Phillip - but I just cannot live with him.'