Father describes ordeal

A FATHER told a jury at Norwich Crown Court on Monday how he saw his son attack his own mother and then hit him over the head after they refused him money. Richard Branch, 42, is accused of attacking his elderly parents and then setting fire to their cara

A FATHER told a jury at Norwich Crown Court on Monday how he saw his son attack his own mother and then hit him over the head after they refused him money.

Richard Branch, 42, is accused of attacking his elderly parents and then setting fire to their caravan at the Turf Fen Bridge traveller site, at Murrow, near Wisbech.

Branch, who lives at the same traveller site, denies murdering his mother Lavinia Branch, aged 71, attempting to murder his father Fred Branch, and causing his father grievous bodily harm with intent on May 12 last year.

Mrs Branch died in the blaze, but Fred Branch, 77, managed to stagger from the burning caravan with part of his skull caved in, bleeding profusely and suffering from burns.


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The jury heard he spent weeks in hospital being treated for his injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and at Addenbrooke's in Cambridge and now lived with his daughter Sylvia in Huntingdon and needed special care.

However, yesterday Mr Branch gave evidence by TV link and told the jury he remembered his wife opening the caravan door to their son Richard.

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He said Richard asked his mother for money.

"She said, 'I have not got any money', and he then hit her."

His wife fell down and he tried to go to her aid.

"He then came after me and hit me on the head," he said.

Mr Branch added he must have been knocked unconscious.

"I cannot remember anything. He hit me so hard I just passed out."

Mr Branch told the jury that Richard was often asking his mother for money and she usually gave it to him.

Richard's sister Sylvia Seymour told how she had to break the news to her father while he was in hospital that his wife was dead.

Later on, she said, he remembered more about the incident and told her on a number of occasions that Richard had hit his mother and then hit him.

The case continues.

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