Gardener threatened to kill wife of 40 years in row over cutting lawn

Debbie and Steven Briscall
Debbie and Steven Briscall argued over whether cutting wet grass might damage the mower - Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd

A gardener threatened to kill his wife of 40 years in a row over cutting the lawn.

Steven Briscall, 57, told Debbie Briscall ‘‘I will bury you’’ when they began arguing over whether cutting wet grass in their front lawn might damage his mower, a court heard.

Mr Briscall, a former herdsman, dialled 999 during the argument and twice said he was going to kill his wife or ‘‘knock her out’’ as she stood nearby.

He suggested that the operator tell her to get out of their £180,000 semi-detached house at the end of a cul-de-sac in the village of Hartford, near Northwich, Cheshire.

When police attended they found Mrs Briscall upset and shaken but she declined to make a statement, instead telling officers she wanted to stand by her long-term husband, with whom she had been with since the age of 17.

The couple’s front lawn is thought to have gone uncut for several weeks as a result of heavy rain last month.

Steven Briscall
Steven Briscall told his wife Debbie 'I will bury you' - Jon Harris/Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd

Police pursued a prosecution based on the 999 calls, leading to Briscall pleading guilty at Warrington magistrates’ court, where his wife and daughter supported him, to making threats to damage or destroy property after he also threatened to burn down their home.

Joseph Kindley, prosecuting, said: “Two separate calls were made. He says to the officers, he will knock his wife out if she does not stop and he said he will kill her. He said that twice. He asked the operator to get her out of the house.

“He said he will burn the house down. He says ‘I will bury you’ towards his wife. The victim can be heard in the background of the call.

“Officers did attend the scene and spoke to the defendant’s wife. She said that day the defendant said he was going to kill her and she believed him.”

During a police interview, Mr Briscall claimed he was intoxicated at the time, which prosecutors said aggravated the offence along with it being a domestic incident.

In mitigation, David Thompson, Mr Briscall’s lawyer, said: “There was an argument about the defendant not cutting the grass. As he saw it, it was too wet so an argument developed. The complainant still wants to pursue a relationship.”

He was sentenced to an 18-month community order, fined £100 and ordered to pay £199 in costs.