Man who cut wife’s throat jailed for life

Richard Beattie
Richard Beattie
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A man who told his wife he would kill her if she ever tried to leave him cut her throat – a week after she filed for divorce.

Richard Beattie, 66, has been jailed for life after he was convicted of attempted murder of his wife in broad daylight on a Blackpool street.

Officers at the scene in the aftermath of the attack

Officers at the scene in the aftermath of the attack

Beattie’s wife of 43 years, Elizabeth, only survived the attack when a passing police officer saw Beattie straddling his wife “hacking” at her throat with a kitchen knife – and launched a running kick to get her crazed attacker off her.

She later said: “This will stay with me till the day one of us dies.”

On December 15, Preston Crown Court heard Beattie lay in wait as his wife made her way to work at the Department of Work and Pensions offices in Warbreck Hill Road, Blackpool.

She had recently changed her shifts after seeing her husband travelling on the same bus a few weeks previously, but when she got off the bus, Beattie attacked her from behind, telling her: “Today is the day you die.”

Today is the day you die

Richard Beattie

The court heard he dragged her to the ground and straddled her as he hacked at her throat, working slowly and methodically, cutting a gaping three inch wound to her neck which exposed her digestive tract and severed her larynx, leaving her struggling to breathe.

A passing motorist stopped his car and shouted at Beattie, but the attacker turned the bloodied knife on the man, telling him: “You don’t know what she’s done to me. She’s kicked me out after 40 years.”

PC Adam Weaver, of Lancashire Police first spotted the man’s car parked erratically, but soon realised what was happening, the court heard.

He radioed for the emergency services before jumping from his van and running at Beattie “as if he was taking a goal kick”.

The prosecution said the victim suffered a 3in gaping wound to her neck revealing parts of her upper digestive tract and PC Weaver feared she would die as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Judge Christopher Cornwall, sentencing, said: “All the medical evidence points to the fact you brought her perilously close to death.”

Elizabeth was rushed to hospital where she received 31 stitches to her neck and remained in intensive care for three days, the court heard.

She was released from hospital on Christmas Eve but a year later still suffers severe scarring and hoarseness to her voice.

The attack came a week after Beattie received the petition for divorce after his wife found the courage to report the abuse he had subjected her and their children to throughout their marriage.

On September 9 she had given a statement and Beattie was arrested and bailed with conditions he must not contact his wife or visit the family home.

The court was told he had previously attacked his wife with a milk bottle, a knife, a snooker cue and washing machine hose and their now-adult children spoke of a childhood overshadowed by fear of violence.

One son spoke of being dragged from his bed and beaten, while another described his childhood as “scary”.

Their daughter spoke of being pushed about, hit and kicked “like a man would beat up another man”.

Beattie was also convicted of three counts of child cruelty relating to the three siblings.

But he had told his wife she brought the abuse upon herself and threatened to kill her if she tried to leave him or reported his violence to the police.

Elizabeth – the sole breadwinner – had waited until the week after her husband became eligible to claim a state pension before finally making her complaint.

Judge Cornwall said: “You were a domestic tyrant. Literally anything was capable of causing your mood to change from being relatively normal to irrational and aggressive.

“These four victims are the people you should have cherished and loved. Your utterly appalling behaviour has caused them misery which still lies heavily upon them.

“You made it perfectly plain to your wife that were she ever to complain to the police about your criminal behaviour or were she ever to leave you – you would hunt her down and kill her.”

Beattie must serve a minimum of 21 years before he will be eligible to apply for parole.