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Dennis Dowding, a retired university head of law, put up with continuous mental abuse while living with nagging wife Valerie.
The treatment he suffered led to Mr Dowding having to live in his own room at the couple's marital home and said he felt 'gaslighted' by his wife. In one particularly cruel act, year-old Dowding tormented her academic husband by deliberately destroying many of his beloved books.
Matters came to a head when she slapped him and hit him on the head with the walking stick in a row over their dog. She had become 'livid and incandescent' for him letting the pet out of their home in the village of Milton Abbas in north Dorset. Valerie Dowding arrives at Bournemouth Crown Court. Mr Dowding, who is aged in his 70s, suffered a wound to his head and had to go to hospital for treatment after the incident in December At that stage he was undergoing counselling and was advised by his counsellor to report the assault to the police.
Dowding was convicted of assault following a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court. She was also charged with engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour but the jury were 'unsure of her guilt within the law' and she was acquitted of that charge.
In handing Dowding a suspended prison sentence Judge Robert Pawson told her she had spent years bullying her husband and had resorted to spiteful actions. The court heard the couple had been together for several decades before their relationship started to deteriorate about ten years ago. In a victim impact statement read out in court, Mr Dowding said: "This assault marked the culmination of coercive behaviour which has gone on for years. During the trial Dowding tried to claim her husband had 'set matters up to secure a favourable divorce' and he had bullied her.
But Judge Pawson said he did not accept her version of events and said her husband was clearly the victim. Milton Abbas. Picture: BNPS. He told nothing but the truth and certainly did not fabricate anything. I accept he felt helpless and in despair. He was reluctant to do it. You were quite unreasonable, you were behaving as a bully. He did not advance on you, it is clear he posed no threat. He was particularly vulnerable - he used a stick, he is elderly - and you use a weapon. Valerie Dowding leaving Bournemouth Crown Court. We want our comments to be a lively and valuable part of our community - a place where readers can debate and engage with the most important local issues.
The ability to comment on our stories is a privilege, not a right, however, and that privilege may be withdrawn if it is abused or misused. Last Updated:. Spiteful wife who attacked elderly husband with his own walking stick avoids jail News North Dorset woman spent years bullying her husband, court hears.
See photos images. Spiteful wife who attacked elderly husband with his own walking stick avoids jail Valerie Dowding and her husband, Dennis, outside Bournemouth Crown Court. Spiteful wife who attacked elderly husband with his own walking stick avoids jail BNPS. Skip to next photo.
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