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Jail for nurse wife murder bid


Royston Jones at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny where he tried to strangle his wife Claire Jones (Gwent Police/PA)

Royston Jones at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny where he tried to strangle his wife Claire Jones (Gwent Police/PA)

Royston Jones at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny where he tried to strangle his wife Claire Jones (Gwent Police/PA)

A jealous husband who attempted to murder his staff nurse wife by strangling her as she worked at an intensive care unit has been jailed for 15 years.

Royston Jones, 39, attacked Claire Jones in front of staff and patients at Nevill Hall hospital in Abergavenny, south Wales, after becoming convinced she was having an affair.

Her colleagues bravely managed to stop the attack by pulling bare-chested Jones off his victim, ignoring his untrue claim that he was armed with a grenade.

Father-of-three Jones, of Brynmawr in Blaenau Gwent, left Mrs Jones, 35, his wife of 14 years, unconscious after the attack on September 5 last year.

She was taken to the A&E unit at the hospital, where she was treated for a swollen neck and throat, elbow and back injuries.

Jones, who threatened to kill his wife after she moved out of the marital home in early 2014, was convicted of attempted murder by a jury at Newport Crown Court.

Sentencing Jones at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Eleri Rees, the Recorder of Cardiff, said Jones drove to the hospital after taking mephedrone.

"You headed straight for her, saying 'you have done it now'," the judge said. "Consultant Edward Curtis saw you outside the locked door of the unit.

"You barged your way through the doors after a nurse who had just entered. Dr Curtis instructed staff to call police and followed you.

"He saw you on top of Claire strangling her. Her face was changing colour and you were saying the words 'kill' or 'die'.

"Dr Curtis bravely engaged in a monumental struggle with you. You kneed Dr Curtis with considerable force."

Nurses were able to drag Mrs Jones away to a side room as Jones grappled with Dr Curtis on the floor, the judge said.

But Jones leapt to his feet, forced his way into the room and renewed his attack.

Dr Curtis managed to loosen one of Jones' arms so his victim could slip to the floor, where she was dragged away again by colleagues.

They took her to a side room and barricaded themselves in as Dr Curtis continued to restrain Jones, assisted by hospital porters.

"It took five men to control your movements," the judge said. "You threatened to bite them saying you had hepatitis and said you had a hand grenade.

"This was a high dependency unit with six very ill patients being cared for. They were exposed to the most frightening and shocking scene."

Jones was "jealous, possessive and aggressive" and convinced his estranged wife was in another relationship, Michael Jones, prosecuting, previously said.

"He had his hands around her throat and there's no doubt he was trying to kill her by strangling her," the prosecutor said.

"Other members of staff tried to pull him away. He was too strong, however, and continued to try to kill her."

Representing Jones, Hilary Roberts said the attack was due to his client's use of mephedrone and said he had no memory of the attack.

"He behaved under the influence of drugs," Mr Roberts said. "He is as horrified as everybody else at the story that unfolded through the trial and was graphically told by witnesses.

"The defendant fully and truly apologises for everybody for his behaviour. He is mortified at what he has done.

"He has no memory of these events and he cannot conceive himself forming an intention to harm her, let alone to kill her."

The court heard Jones appeared before magistrates in August last year and was sentenced to a community order and supervision for battery on Mrs Jones.

After being arrested for attempting to murder his wife, Jones told officers "when I get out I will finish it properly".

The judge imposed a restraining order banning Jones from contacting his wife, including electronically.

Speaking after Jones' conviction, Detective Inspector Leigh Mears, of Gwent Police, said: "This was both a very frightening and disturbing incident in a place that is supposed to be a place of safety - a hospital.

"We must acknowledge the bravery of staff at Nevill Hall hospital - colleagues of the victim - for stepping in as they did, which undoubtedly prevented further serious harm to the victim.

"We would like to reassure anyone who is experiencing any form of domestic abuse that they are not on their own and there is help and support there for you. There is no justifiable excuse for committing domestic abuse."