Grandson who pushed and killed his grandfather, 80, during a row over the pensioner's will is jailed for three years for manslaughter

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John Bathers, 80, fell over after being pushed by his grandson Ashley Sumner, 31It occurred amid row over Mr Bather's will on September 6 at his Oswestry homeMr Bathers was left with a bloodied and swollen head and Sumner left the home He was not initially thought to be seriously injured but died days later in hospital 

A grandson who pushed and killed his grandfather during a row over the pensioner’s will has been jailed for three years for manslaughter. 

John Bathers, 80, fell and hit his head after being pushed by his grandson Ashley Sumner, 31, during a heated dispute on September 6 over his money would be split. 

Sumner has been jailed for three years after admitting manslaughter over the incident at his grandfather’s home in Oswestry, Shropshire.

Mr Bathers put his hand on his grandson’s chest before Sumner pushed him, causing the pensioner – who was unsteady on his feet and prone to falls – to stumble backwards.

Sumner, from Ellesmere, Shropshire, then left the house and took his grandfather’s car without his permission, Stafford Crown Court heard.

John Bathers (pictured), 80, fell and hit his head after being pushed by his grandson Ashley Sumner, 31, during a heated dispute on September 6 over his money would be split

John Bathers (pictured), 80, fell and hit his head after being pushed by his grandson Ashley Sumner, 31, during a heated dispute on September 6 over his money would be split

Mr Bathers was left with a bloodied and swollen head but he was not initially thought to be seriously injured. 

His concerned daughters called for an ambulance but were told they would be waiting for five hours, the court was told.

Mr Bathers’s health deteriorated over the following hours and he was found unconscious in bed by his daughters. He died two days later in hospital. 

Doctors later found he had suffered an ‘unsurvivable’ brain haemorrhage when he hit his head.

The court was told Sumner was unhappy that money had been promised in Mr Bathers will was being split among other members of the family.

The pair had previously disagreed on the matter, prosecutor Robert Price explained, but this time led to physical contact between the two.

‘The defendant wasn’t happy about the alteration he had made,’ said Mr Price. ‘He took the view the provision made for himself was inadequate and unfair in comparison.

‘It was clearly a source of tension for him. He didn’t agree with how he intended to divide it all.’

Mr Bathers was left with a bloodied and swollen head but he was not initially thought to be seriously injured. He died two days later in hospital, Stafford Crown Court (pictured) heard

Mr Bathers was left with a bloodied and swollen head but he was not initially thought to be seriously injured. He died two days later in hospital, Stafford Crown Court (pictured) heard

Before he died, Mr Bathers told his family members they’d had ‘an argument about money and the will again’ and that he had tripped on a rug and lost his balance.

Mr Price explained: ‘He said he placed his hand on Ashley just to move him away and Ashley pushed him backwards. 

‘He fell backwards because the corner of the rug was sticking up.’

The court heard Mr Bathers and his grandson generally had a loving relationship, and that Sumner thought of Mr Bathers more as a father figure as he had spent time living with him growing up.

Lynette McClement, defending, said Sumner had been distressed by problems in his relationship and family members were concerned about his drinking.

Sumner admitted taking a vehicle without consent, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

Ms McClement said he would regularly take his grandfather’s car and on this occasion, had returned it the following day.

She said: ‘What is clear is there was a very close and real bond between Mr Bathers and Mr Sumner. He was the anchor in this young man’s life when all else fell apart.

‘Mr Sumner has said he is very distraught and devastated by what happened that day.’

Judge Mrs Justice May said while it was clear Sumner did not intend to cause his grandfather’s death, it was unacceptable to place his hands on a frail and elderly man, and there was always an expectation he could be injured if he did so.

She added that he was the only grandchild who would regularly visit him to help with tasks around the house and Mr Bathers was ‘proud’ of him.

Sumner, who sobbed throughout the sentencing hearing over video-link from prison, broke down at this point.

The judge said: ‘That’s what makes this case more sad and shameful. He was old. He deserved care not your anger and pushing.

‘You didn’t mean to cause his death but nevertheless in your anger that’s what you did.

‘You will have to find a way to live with it and make him proud again.’ 

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