Court hears how B&B owner 'treated her husband like a slave'
World / 21 November 2019, 12:45pm / DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Kent - A luxury B&B owner treated her husband like a slave and threatened to ‘break his neck’ if he failed to do chores, a jury was told on Wednesday.
Simon Weston claimed he faced repeated verbal and physical abuse by his wife Clare for more than a year.
At the time they were running Shepherd House, an upmarket B&B in a Georgian former vicarage in Faversham, Kent.
He told a court that she "whacked" a mug of tea into his face after he boiled the water in the "wrong" kettle, and kicked in a door panel in anger after he left the fridge open.
It is alleged that she also threatened to set their dog on him and burn his clothes if he did not follow her orders to carry out household jobs around the house.
Mr Weston, a chartered surveyor, said he became so worried about what his wife might do that he started to record their rows secretly and took photographs of injuries allegedly including a fingernail gouge to a cheek and a swollen eye from a scratch.
In a recording played to Maidstone Crown Court in Kent, she can allegedly be heard shouting and screaming at him, belittling him and branding him "an unemployed loser", a "f***ing remedial s**t" and a "disgusting scumbag".
Weston, 41, denies engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour between September 2017 and February this year.
It is alleged that on at least two occasions she caused her husband to fear violence would be used against him.
The prosecution has told jurors that Weston treated him "like a slave and worse than a dog for minor misdemeanours" until he reached breaking point.
He said his wife "made his life difficult" by not allowing him access to the kitchen to prepare food or make himself a cup of tea.
Mr Weston claimed she attacked him after she took a full cup of tea away from him. He said that after he took it back: "She came at me, tried to kick me in the testicles and was kicking out and punching me."
"She managed to connect with my face a couple of times."
The couple were going through divorce proceedings at the time and Mr Weston said he just wanted to sell the business and move on. In one recording played to the court, Weston could allegedly be heard warning she would "take him for every penny’ in the divorce court".
Giving evidence on Wednesday on a videolink from Edinburgh, where he now lives, Mr Weston said: "Having to deal with what was going on affected me massively."
"At the time I didn’t comprehend how bad it was because I got on with life and tried to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. It was only when they reached such a crescendo of physical and verbal abuse that someone pointed out to me they were really worried about me and concerned for my welfare.
‘It was that realisation of what was going on that made me decide I wanted to get out of the house and away from Clare because I was really worried about what may happen to me. I didn’t know what Clare was capable of doing."
The couple married in July 2014 and spent a year renovating Shepherd House before opening it in September 2016. Mr Weston said his wife was initially front of house while he cooked before their roles reversed.
He initiated divorce proceedings in the summer of 2018, but they continued to live under the same roof and run the business together.
That year he was made redundant, so the B&B became their sole source of income. The court heard the alleged incidents of abuse intensified early this year as Mr Weston renovated the property so it could be put up for sale.