Chip shop owner ‘killed wife by throwing boiling oil over her’, court hears

Husband claims wife suffered severe burns after spilling hot oil on herself

Conrad Duncan
Monday 11 November 2019 17:58
Geoffrey Bran allegedly murdered his wife by throwing a deep fat fryer containing boiling cooking oil on her
Geoffrey Bran allegedly murdered his wife by throwing a deep fat fryer containing boiling cooking oil on her

A husband killed his wife of 30 years by throwing scalding hot cooking oil over her at their chip shop, a court has heard.

Geoffrey Bran, 71, allegedly murdered his wife Mavis Bran, 69, with a deep fat fryer following arguments about money.

Swansea Crown Court was told on Monday Ms Bran suffered severe burns to her body after her husband allegedly pushed or threw one of three fryers on top of her at the Chipoteria in Hermon, Carmarthenshire.

She died in hospital from multi-organ failure six days after the alleged incident in October last year.

Mr Bran, who denies murder, has claimed his wife had been cooking fish when she slipped and spilled the hot oil over herself.

However, prosecutor Paul Lewis QC rejected that explanation for her injuries.

Ms Bran’s friend, Caroline Morgan, said she received a call from her in which Ms Bran screamed: “Geoff has thrown boiling oil over me. Please get here, I need you now, help.”

Ms Morgan said Mr Bran was still serving customers at the chip shop after the alleged incident.

“It is the prosecution case in a nutshell that the terrible burns Mrs Bran suffered were not the result of an accident, but were caused by her husband deliberately pushing or throwing over her a deep fat fryer which contained scalding oil,” Mr Lewis said.

The couple opened The Chipoteria together in January 2018 in a small village in West Wales, adding to a small number of commercial properties and businesses they owned around South Wales.

However, the court heard how the financial pressures from their various businesses would sometimes put strain on their marriage and cause arguments.

Mr Lewis said a friend of Ms Bran had noticed the marriage “deteriorating” in the months leading up to her death and received a phone call from her in which she tearfully said her husband was “getting nasty”.

Gareth Davies, another friend who lived with the couple, said Ms Bran returned home on 23 October naked from the waist up, shouting “I’ve been burned” and “I’ve had boiling hot fat all over me”.

Mr Davies described her upper body as “crimson” with skin peeling but Ms Bran declined an ambulance.

She was later taken by air ambulance to Morriston Hospital in Swansea, where doctors found she had suffered burns to 46 per cent of her body.

Mr Bran was initially arrested on suspicion of assault and denied attacking his wife, telling police: “She got burned with the chip fryer. She slipped and it came off the top and went over her. Don’t ask.”

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA