A 70-year-old man from Knebworth has been jailed for 14 months after admitting to domestic abuse offences against his wife spanning a 47-year marriage.

Clive Holmes, 70, pleaded guilty to two counts of GBH against his partner, who suffered a fall at the family home in September last year, which resulted in the abuse being reported to the police.

The couple had had an argument about crumbs left on a table when Holmes has grabbed her round the neck and pushed her to the floor, causing her hip to break.

He left her there in pain without getting help, and kicked her broken leg several times in passing, before finally throwing her phone at her so she could call family and neighbours for assistance.

Detectives from Herts police’s domestic abuse unit investigated the incident. They found that she had been living in fear of violence throughout their 47-year marriage.

In 1982, she locked herself in a bedroom at the couple’s home following an argument with Holmes. He then tried to force his way through the bedroom door. She was so scared that she jumped from the first floor window, breaking her ankle as she landed on the ground. A third charge of GBH relating to another historic matter was ordered to lie on file.

Holmes was sentenced to three years in jail at St Albans Crown Court but this was reduced because of his early guilty plea and having no previous convictions. He was also given an indefinite restraining order stopping him from contacting the victim, their children and grandchildren or attending Knebworth Cricket Club.

Dt Con Andy Batey said: “Holmes’s wife is a victim of domestic abuse who lived in fear of violence for years. She told us how she had spent much of her married life covering up the evidence of his actions because of the shame she felt about her abusive marriage.

“The physical and psychological impact on her continues to this day. She has walked with a limp since her injury in the 80s and has had to have surgery to replace her broken hip following the incident in September.

“I would like to pay tribute to her bravery, despite the distress and anxiety she still feels about the abuse and the impact it has had on their family. When people report domestic abuse to us, our number one priority is to secure that person’s safety. I hope Holmes’s period in jail provides her with the space and freedom to start rebuilding her life.

“This case and its outcome should serve as a positive message to victims of domestic abuse, no matter their age or how long the abuse has lasted. It is never too late to seek help and support to help you or a loved one escape an abusive relationship.”

If you or someone you know is being affected by domestic abuse, visit hertssunflower.org or speak to someone from the Herts Domestic Abuse helpline for help, advice and support on 08 088 088 088 (open weekdays 9am-9pm and weekends 9am-4pm). In an emergency situation, always call 999.