Pensioner guilty of assaulting husband

Jean Crossland, 76, who is charged with assualt by beating, of her husband, leaves Scarborough Magistrate's Court''20 April 2015
Jean Crossland, 76, who is charged with assualt by beating, of her husband, leaves Scarborough Magistrate's Court''20 April 2015

A golden marriage lasting over half a century has been left in tatters - after a fed-up pensioner whacked her husband with a rolling pin.

In scenes reminiscent of Punch and Judy, 76-year-old Jean Crossland greeted husband John by slapping the pastry-flattener against her palm and then attacking his ankles with it as he lay in bed.

The March 24 attack was the climax of years of tension between the married couple of 51 years, and came on the same day ex-parish councillor John made a near two-hour visit to his lawyer - while his wife sat in Morrisons car park.

On the way back, “irate” Jean, of Carr Lane, East Heslerton, refused to put her seatbelt , before snatching the glasses off her husband’s face while he drove as she tried to take the car out of gear.

John then tried reporting his wife to the police, but was told it was a civil matter.

When he arrived home from his son’s that night, he found his wife “in a rather foul mood”, rolling pin in hand.

After his supper, she struck as she hurled insults at him.

“I felt very intimidated,” said 16st John.

“She insulted me, calling me various colours - yellow being the main one.

“She also called me ‘little mouse’ and said ‘you’re as bad as your father’.”

The next day he woke expecting to be greeted to more abuse, but instead his wife acted as if nothing had happened - even asking him to peel some spuds for dinner.

But the day after that she snapped again - “arms and fists flying” - as she volleyed punches at 6ft John’s head and body.

His eye red and swollen, he called police who this time came to the couple’s Carr Lane bungalow and arrested Jean.

At her Scarborough Magistrates trial, Mrs Crossland claimed her husband must have caused the marks himself.

Her solicitor Robert Vining said that she claimed John had a history of domestic abuse and was a liar - a claim he strongly denied.

Mrs Crossland also claimed she slapped him twice on police advice, after he struck her.

She also insisted she always kept a rolling pin by her side, in case of intruders.

But in his evidence, cricket groundsman John said they only time he’d ever seen the pin was when his wife baked.

At Mrs Crossland’s second hearing in April, the court heard she was receiving tests for dementia.

But at Friday’s trial, while she admitted to being in “poor health” - including heart palpitations - a doctor had confirmed she didn’t suffer from the condition.

And she admitted that she’d hoped to have spent more time with her husband after he retired 12 years ago.

But she felt cricket-mad John “had not been around too much”, and that she didn’t like being left alone - adding she was “a bit angered” by how much time he spent out the house.

In his testimony, John said they had enjoyed a largely “reasonable” marriage until the last couple of years.

He added that since his retirement, he’d taken on a “carer role” and had been made to “disregard” his hobbies.

“Her behaviour became very erratic,” said John, as his weeping wife watched on.

“Recently it became very physical and I was getting quite a lot of physical abuse.

“I couldn’t go on living.”

Mrs Crossland, who had denied all charges, was found guilty of two counts of assault by beating.

She was also convicted of criminal damage, having smashed her husband’s £40 mobile during the rage.

Currently, Mrs Crossland is understood to still be at the couple’s home. No restraining order was imposed as a civil order already exists.

Previously, the court heard Mr Crossland had sought an ouster injunction to make her move out their bungalow.

Sentencing was adjourned until June 30 for a pre-sentence report to be carried out.

Magistrates warned Mrs Crossland that all options were open to them.

She was released on conditional bail until then, with Mr Vining adding he found it heartbreaking to see a couple of 51 years facing each other in a criminal court.

“Some days are good days, some days are bad days and some days are sad days,” he said.

“This is a sad day.”