The 71-year-old owner of a fish and chip shop in Wales murdered his wife by throwing boiling oil over her, prosecutors said in court Monday.
Geoffrey Bran and his wife of 30 years Mavis Bran had been having money troubles and were constantly arguing in the months before he allegedly attacked her with a deep fat fryer at their Chipoteria stand in Carmarthenshire, prosecutors Paul Lewis said in Swansea Crown Court.
“The terrible burns [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,” Lewis told the jury, according to The Guardian.
After she was allegedly attacked Oct. 23, 2018, Mavis, 69, called up her friend Caroline Morgan to plead for help.
“Emergency, emergency, please get here. Geoff has thrown boiling oil over me. Please get here, I need you now. Help,” she screamed, according to Lewis.
The couple came out of retirement to open their small restaurant but had been facing intense financial strain and “always argued, swearing and shouting at each other,” Lewis said.
Mavis would call up Morgan in tears saying her husband was getting “nasty” and that she was “frightened of the defendant and afraid he was going to kill her,” Lewis said, according to the BBC.
Another friend, Gareth Davies – who lived with the couple and helped in the shop – said he heard Mavis shout “I’ve been burnt” and “I’ve had boiling hot fat all over me” around lunchtime the day of the alleged attack.
Geoffrey allegedly told Davies and Morgan that his wife had slipped and pulled the fryer over herself in an accident.
She was airlifted to a hospital with burns to 46% of her body and died there six days later.
A paramedic said Mavis told her, “My husband threw the hot fat over me.”
“Go and get him so that he can see the state of me and see what he has done,” first responder Alison Williams recalled Mavis saying.
Geoffrey was initially arrested on suspicion of assault and allegedly told police: “She got burned with the chip fryer. She slipped and it came off the top and went over her. Don’t ask.”
In a later interview, he allegedly told cops his wife became “upset and agitated” because one of their fryers was dirty and some of their fish had spoiled, adding “she can lose all reason.”
He said she threw the rotten fish in a rage, sending hot oil flying through the air and causing her to mistakenly pull the fryer down on top of herself.
Geoffrey was rearrested for her murder Nov. 22, 2018. He denies the charges.
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