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Son accused of mother's manslaughter following Christmas potato row is cleared

By Carl Jackson | Brierley Hill | News | Published:

A man accused of causing the death of his frail elderly mother after assaulting her in their home before she died in hospital, has been cleared.

Mark Jennens

Mark Jennens, aged 40, from Brierley Hill, had picked up 78-year-old Hazel by the arms at their home in Sorrel Walk, on Christmas Eve, 2015, following a row over potatoes, before she fell to the ground and broke her hip as he frogmarched her to the door.

But when she tragically died at Russells Hall Hospital on January 20, 2016, from bronchopneumonia, Mr Jennens was charged with her manslaughter.

A trial took place at Wolverhampton Crown Court last week where the prosecution case against him was that the attack was the substantial cause his mother's death.

But following less than an hour and half's worth of deliberation today a jury found Mr Jennens 'not guilty'.

He said immediately afterwards: "It was never the thought of prison that bothered me it was the stigma of being the man that killed his own mother."

There were tears of joy from his family in the public gallery who had stuck by him throughout the criminal investigation.

The court had heard that for more than ten years Mr Jennens had cared for his mother who suffered from lung cancer and emphysema.

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He had suffered a breakdown in early 2015 and sought help from social services to care for Hazel, who he said was a 'difficult' woman who could be 'evil' towards him, but she had refused external support.

On the day of the incident Mr Jennens admitted assaulting his mother following another verbal onslaught from her about Christmas dinner and called the police and ambulance himself telling the operator he had 'just lost it'.

But his defence barrister Sharon Bailey had argued there had been a 'break in the chain of causation' when Hazel was incorrectly administered Salbutamol in hospital two days before she died.

Mark's sister Dawn said after the verdict: "The whole family have stuck my Mark.

"There was no public interest in this case, it was only going to hurt the family."

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson
Reporter - @cjackson_star

Senior reporter for Staffordshire and Walsall.

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