Suffolk pub landlord cleared of making threats to kill his wife

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk pub landlord accused of threatening to kill his wife during a New Year’s Day row has been cleared by a jury.

Frank Hill, who was running the Railway Tavern in Mellis, near Eye, with his wife Ester Deocampo, had denied making a threat to kill her and assault by beating, but was cleared of both offences after a trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Giving evidence during the trial, 54-year-old Hill said he had suspected his wife of having an affair and begged her to be honest with him.

He claimed that during a heated argument in the pub bar after closing time on New Year’s Day Miss Deocampo had pushed him and he had pushed her back.

She left the bar and went upstairs and he went into the kitchen and picked up a knife in a bid to shock her.

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He went to the bottom of the stairs and pleaded with her to be honest with him and accepted that in hindsight he had “made a huge mistake” by picking up the knife.

He denied going upstairs after her with the knife and said he would never have hurt her.

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The prosecution had alleged that Hill had followed Miss Deocampo upstairs and waved a knife at her chest.

The court heard that she allegedly managed to calm the situation down by promising they could talk about what was bothering him and while Hill was having a cigarette she left the pub and went to a friend’s house.

The court heard that an argument started on New Year’s Day after Miss Deocampo returned to the pub at around 9pm after going out with a friend.

Last orders were called at 11.30pm and when all the customers had left, Hill had allegedly started questioning Miss Deocampo about a man called Patrick who had allegedly sent her some flowers.

During Hill’s case his barrister Nicola May read a number of references to the court in which he was described as “ honest and reliable” and credited with turning the Railway Tavern into the centre of village life.

One referee said they had never seen Hill lose his temper.

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