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The Sheffield Star
23 January 2007
A WIFE wept as she recalled her final fight with her husband three days before he died.
Sarah Lee listened to her taped account she gave to police of the events which led to her slapping husband Stephen Lee across the face.
Three days later, Mr Lee, aged 34, was dead from a brain injury. Mrs Lee sobbed as the interview was played to a Sheffield inquest.
She was arrested on suspicion of assault while Mr Lee was being examined at the Northern General Hospital. He was arrested on release from hospital and charged with assaulting his wife.
Mother-of-four Mrs Lee, aged 32, said her eight-year marriage had been ‘fantastic’ until problems set in when he lost his job in 1998 after the birth of their first child.
He began suffering from depression. He was treated with anti-depressants but his condition deteriorated in the 18 months up to his death. He became increasingly violent.
She suffered bruising to her arms, legs and face from kicks and punches. He had grabbed her by the throat.
On the evening of their final row, he threatened to burn down their home at Farndale Road, Hillsborough, with her still inside it.
Mrs Lee told police: “I don’t care how much he hits me, it’s the things he says. It’s what he does to my head. I try to look after him and be there for him. I’ve supported him through everything.”
Asked why she had never called the police when Mr Lee attacked her, she said: “Because I love him and don’t want him to be in trouble. I don’t want to be without him because I love him so much and the kids love him.”
That morning he had been angry when he felt she had not disciplined one child. He had thrown a washing basket at her and tried to spray deodorant in her face before pushing and pulling her, threatening to kill her.
She hit him across the face, then slapped his face a second time, hitting him so hard it turned his head.
He suffered a blood clot in an artery to his brain, leading to the death of brain tissues.
The hearing continues.