Three years in prison for manslaughter after his grandson pushed and killed the grandfather during a dispute over the pensioner’s will.
John Bathers, 80 years old, fell to his head and was pushed by Ashley Sumner (31), during a heated argument on September 6, over how his money would be divided.
Sumner was sentenced to three years in prison after he admitted manslaughter for the incident at his grandfather’s house in Oswestry (Shropshire).
Sumner pushed Sumner, and Mr Bathers placed his hand on the chest of his grandson. Sumner was unsteady on his feet, and prone to falling. Sumner then stumbled backwards.
Stafford Crown Court heard that Sumner, a Shropshire resident, left his home and took his grandfather’s car, without his consent.
Although Mr. Bathers’ head was swollen and bloody, it was not thought that he had suffered any serious injuries.
The court was informed that his daughters, who were concerned about their welfare, called an ambulance. However, they were told that they would have to wait for five hours.
His health declined over the next hours, and Mr Bathers was eventually found unconscious by his daughters. He died two days later in hospital.
Later, doctors discovered that he had suffered a brain hemorhage after he fell on his head.
Sumner, according to the court, was not happy that Mr Bathers had promised money and was being divided among other family members.
Robert Price, the prosecutor, explained that the pair had disagreed in the past, but this time it led to physical contact.
Price stated that the defendant was not happy with the alteration he made. He believed that the provision he made for himself was insufficient and unfair.
“It was clearly a source for tension for him. He wasn’t happy with the way he wanted to divide it all.
Before he died Mr Bathers shared with his family that they had had an argument about money and his will again. He also said that he had fallen on a rug and lost all his balance.
Mr Price explained that he had placed his hand on Ashley to move him away, and Ashley pushed him backwards.
“He fell backwards, because the corner of his rug was sticking up.”
According to the court, Mr Bathers and his grandson had a loving relationship. Sumner thought of Mr Bathers as more of a father figure because he had lived with him growing up.
Lynette McClement, the defending attorney, stated that Sumner was distressed by his relationship problems and that his family was concerned about his drinking habits.
Sumner admitted driving without a license, driving without insurance and taking a vehicle without consent.
Ms McClement stated that he would often take his grandfather’s car, and that he had returned it on the occasion.
She stated that there was a close bond between Mr Sumner and Mr Bathers. He was the anchor of this young man’s life, when everything else failed.
“Mr Sumner stated that he was very upset and devastated by the events of that day.
Judge Mrs Justice May stated that while Sumner was not going to cause the death of his grandfather, it was inexcusable to touch an elderly and frail man. There was also a possibility that he might be hurt.
She said that Mr Bathers was the only grandchild to visit him regularly and help with housework, and she was proud of him.
Sumner, who cried throughout the sentencing hearing via video-link from prison and broke down at this point.
Judge said, “That’s what makes the case more sad and shameful.” He was an old man. He was old and deserved your care, not anger or pushing.
“You didn’t intend to cause his death, but in your anger, that’s exactly what you did.”
“You’ll have to learn to live with it, and make him proud again.”