A Thurcroft man has been jailed for eight years for manslaughter over the death of his wife.
Stephen Eastwood, 55, of Sycamore Drive, was cleared at Sheffield Crown Court today (Friday 14th December) of murdering his 56-year-old wife Angela.
But a jury found him guilty of manslaughter over the death of Mrs Eastwood who died four days after a row at their home on 27th December last year.
The jury, of six men and five women, returned their verdict late this morning.
As the foreman said they had found Eastwood not guilty of murder, he bowed his head in the dock and began to sob.
Judge Justice Openshaw sentenced Eastwood to eight years for manslaughter on the basis of gross negligence.
He concluded: “For the suffering and death (of Angela Eastwood) the defendant is entirely responsible.”
The judge said that a ‘trivial and absurd’ argument led to the events of 27th December, last year.
He believed that Eastwood went to the garage to fetch the bottle of white spirit with the ‘purpose of using it to start a fire in some way.’
“This was a remarkably stupid and dangerous thing to do in the house,” he added.
He didn’t accept that the white spirit spilled onto Mrs Eastwood during the struggle which occurred, adding that Eastwood must have thrown or poured the flammable liquid over her.
He told the court that Eastwood struck the match intending to ‘scare or frighten’ his wife, adding that evidence showed a cigarette could not have ignited the liquid.
“It was more than foolish. It showed a reckless disregard for her safety,” added the judge.
Detective Inspector Lea Jackson said:” This has been an incredibly difficult investigation, as is any offence that occurs behind closed doors. Angela Eastwood suffered appalling injuries that later led to her death.”
“South Yorkshire Police would like to encourage anyone who is a victim of domestic violence to come forward and report it as early as possible so that all reports can be dealt with and investigated quickly. “
Det Insp Jackson added: “We do not want any domestic violence incidents to escalate to one as serious as this, where we have the tragic death of a woman.”
“Throughout the trial the defendent showed abslutely no remorse whatsoever and this has been reflected in the sentence.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the family for their help and support throughout the investigation during this very difficult time.”