A fish and chip shop owner killed his “nagging” wife by throwing scalding cooking oil over her, a court heard yesterday.
Geoffrey Bran, 71, allegedly murdered Mavis Bran, 69, at The Chipoteria in the village of Hermon, Carmarthenshire.
Swansea Crown Court was told Mrs Bran suffered severe burns to 46% of her body after her husband allegedly pushed or threw one of three fryers on top of her. She died in hospital six days after the incident in October last year.
Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC told the jury: “It is the prosecution case, in a nutshell, that the terrible burns Mrs Bran suffered were not the result of an accident, but were caused by her husband deliberately pushing or throwing over her a deep fat fryer which contained scalding oil.”
Bran, who has children from a previous relationship, had lived in the village with his wife for around ten years.
On October 23 last year, a “happy” Mrs Bran took a lunch order from a customer and she and her husband set about preparing it.
But Gareth Davies, who lived with the couple, said that a short time later, Mrs Bran returned to the house naked from the waist up. He claimed she was shouting “I’ve been burned” and “I’ve had boiling hot fat all over me”.
He described her upper body as “crimson” and said her skin was peeling off her wrists. But despite her injuries, Mrs Bran declined an ambulance and told Mr Davies to fetch more fish to finish the order.
The Brans had been married for 30 years but in the months leading up to her death, Mrs Bran told friends her husband was “getting nasty”. It was even claimed she told one friend “she feared he might kill her”.
One family friend said Mrs Bran was “always nagging” her husband, but over “trivial, silly things”.
Financial pressures from various businesses they had together were said to have put a strain on their relationship at times.
Shortly after the incident, Mrs Bran is said to have called her friend Caroline Morgan, saying: “Caroline please help me, emergency, emergency. please get here. Geoff has thrown boiling oil over me. Please get here, I need you now, help.’ An ambulance was eventually called and paramedics found Mrs Bran alert, but her skin was blistering and peeling and she was repeatedly saying how much pain she was in.
The court was told paramedic Allison Williams heard Mrs Bran say to her friend: “Go and get him so that he can see the state of me and see what he has done.”
It is also alleged that when telling the paramedics what had happened, Mrs Bran said: “I was nagging him and he flipped”.
Bran, who was sporting a cut above his eye after the incident, denies murdering his wife.
The prosecution questioned Bran’s decision not to check on his wife’s condition after the incident – instead remaining at work.
He told Mr Davies his wife had been cooking fish when she slipped and grabbed the fryer, causing it to spill.
Giving evidence, Mr Davies told the jury that he had known the Brans since 2001 and had lived in their house on and off since 2006. The retired mortgage adviser admitted that the couple would often argue about money but the day of the incident had started “like any other Tuesday”.
He said that Mrs Bran would often drink wine – sometimes even for breakfast – and had been drinking on the morning of the incident. The trial continues.