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Sally Stickland sentenced for driving her Nissan Micra into her husband
A HAMPSHIRE woman who drove a car into her husband after years of domestic abuse, has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Sally Stickland ploughed her silver Nissan Micra into John Stickland - who was present in court to support his wife - in West Common, Lanley, on May 18 this year, leaving him with significant injuries to his head, neck, brain and back.
But Southampton Crown Court heard how the 72-year old May have been driven to carrying out the act after years of domestic abuse.
The court heard how Stickland suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result - and a condition described as "battered wife syndrome" by Judge Gary Burrell.
She denied attempted murder at a previous court hearing in September this year, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of grievous bodily harm when the charge was revised.
Simon Edwards, prosecuting, told the court how passers-by found Mr Stickland lying motionless like on a grass verge after the incident.
He told the court Stickland was driving on the eastbound side of the road before crossing over to the westbound side and hitting her 73-year-old husband from behind.
Mr Edwards said: "It struck his legs and he fell backwards.
"It appears that his head was in contact with the windscreen, resulting in damage to the windscreen.
"Mr Stickland would have been unaware of the approach of the car behind him."
Suspicions arose when neighbours saw Stickland's car parked at an angle and with a damaged windscreen at her home.
She said something came at her car when she was driving but was adamant she hadn't hit anyone, the court heard.
Mr Stickland told the court he has made a full recovery, and in a victim impact statement read out by Mr Williams, he said he didn't want to be kept away from his wife for any longer.
He said: "I love my wife and care for her very much."
But the court heard a probation report compiled for Stickland, who has been living in the room of a care home, said the risk of harm towards her husband would "increase" if she lives with him.
Judge Burrell sentenced Stickland, of West Common Road, to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.
He also made her subject to a two year residence order, in which she must live with her son, and a 24 month supervision order.
He said: "You deliberately ran him over in a motorcar from behind, crossing the wrong side of the road and hitting him at speed.
"He could so very easily have died.
"There is a very unusual background to this dreadful incident. You suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome and battered persons' syndrome.
"Although you and Mr Stickland have been married for 50 years and have three children,mot seems clear that for a period of the relationship it was marred by violence, mainly on his part.
"You previously sought help from domestic abuse services. As a result of that your emotional well being suffered and so did your mental health."
Mr Stickland embraced his wife following the hearing.
A family statement was read outside court by solicitor Janet Brownlow.
It said: "The entire family have found the last few months very difficult and are still coming to terms with the traumatic circumstances surrounding the incident and everything that has followed.
"The family remain united. Mr and Mrs Stickland still love each other deeply and they understand then reasoning behind the judge's sentencing.
"The family wish to start to put all of this behind them and look forward to the future.
"We would ask the press to respect the family's privacy in a relationship which has become public in the way that it did."
She initially pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but admitted causing grievous bodily harm
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