Roughlee farmer in court on domestic violence charge

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A FARMER who produced a knife at the marital home and also assaulted his wife has walked free from court - thanks to the victim.

Father-of-one Paul Latham banged Amy Latham’s head repeatedly on the tiled bathroom wall after grabbing her hair as she sat on the toilet. He threatened her sister with the knife and went on to attack his wife in the car on the way to Manchester Children’s Hospital, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The defendant, now separated from his wife and living with a new partner and her children, struck in front of his “terrified” son. Latham was said to minimise and deny what he had done and think it was “only” domestic violence.

The defendant (36), of Noggarth Road, Roughlee, had admitted affray and common assault. Latham, who had no previous convictions, received 20 weeks in jail, suspended for a year, with 12 months supervision.

Sentencing, Judge Heather Lloyd told him domestic violence was just as serious as any other kind of violence and perhaps more so and views it was “only” domestic violence were from a bygone era.

The judge said it was clear Mrs Latham was extremely sad about the situation and was embarrassed people knew, but she wanted the defendant to get help - and that was to her credit. It was because of her attitude the sentence could be suspended.

Judge Lloyd continued: “You should be thoroughly ashamed of what you have done. Whether you are or not, only you will know. I hope you have learned your lesson and hope you will learn to curb your temper.”

Mr David Toll (prosecuting) said, in November, 2009, Mrs Latham was due to go out with her sister and this had caused an argument between her and the defendant.

Latham banged her head on the tiles, only stopping when their three-year-old son walked in. The victim’s head was swollen. Her sister arrived, the Lathams started rowing again and the defendant pushed his wife on the bed and started to punch her. Her sister intervened and Latham pinned her against the wall. Mrs Latham left the house and the defendant told his frightened sister-in-law he would kill her if police were called. She ran downstairs to leave, Latham came into the kitchen and as she went to go, she saw he had taken a penknife out of his pocket. He pointed it at her, she thought she was going to be stabbed, but Latham said: “I have had enough”, turned the knife on himself and pushed it into his own neck.

Mr Toll said Mrs Latham persuaded her sister not to make a complaint. The Lathams separated in March last year. In October, they were taking their son to hospital together. A row began over comments Mrs Latham had made on Facebook, saying she just wanted things to be over. She explained she had been referring to the stress of recent events. The pair could not find their way to the hospital, Latham took it out on the victim and punched her, bursting her lip and told her: “I will make you black and blue.” Their little boy said: “Calm down daddy, stop it” and then: “Mummy, I need a cuddle.” Mrs Latham later contacted the police.

Mr Jeremy Lasker, for Latham, said he had been to see his doctor about his aggression, had been diagnosed with mild depression and had been given medication and advice.

He had expressed remorse. The Lathams were still married, but divorce proceedings were likely to ensue. Mr Lasker told the judge: “The complainant herself invites you not to impose an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”

The barrister added the case would have caused Latham a great deal of embarrassment in the farming community and would be a “source of dishonour” to the family.