Tree surgeon avoids jail after pushing wife down stairs and breaking her hip in rage over WiFi connection

20 May 2024, 15:48

Grant Wagster pushed his wife down the stairs after expressing frustration over his internet connection
Grant Wagster pushed his wife down the stairs after expressing frustration over his internet connection. Picture: Facebook

By Will Conroy

A tree surgeon who pushed his wife down the stairs and broke her hip after he lost his temper over his internet connection has avoided jail-time. 

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Grant Wagster, 48, was entering online transactions on his computer but lost his cool and started throwing items in anger as his broadband connection went down. 

The tree surgeon from Macclesfield pushed his wife of 14 years, Lyndsey, 46, “with all his power” after she asked him what was going on, Warrington magistrates’ court heard. 

Mrs Wagster broke her hip and smashed her head against the wall as she fell down the stairs, experiencing pain she later described to the police as “excruciating” and saying that she had “never known such a pain in her life”. 

The mortgage adviser asked her husband to call an ambulance but he left her on the stairs for a couple of minutes before throwing her on the landing, then on the bed and finally handing her a phone to call the emergency services. 

Wagster blamed the incident on a combination of alcohol consumption and “the crippling stress” of maintaining his award-winning tree surgeon business. 

Wagster blamed the incident on alcohol and the stress of his business
Wagster blamed the incident on alcohol and the stress of his business. Picture: Facebook

Mrs Wagster said there had been previous occasions where she was “frightened” of her husband and felt she had to “walk on eggshells around him”.

He was ordered to pay his wife £1,000 compensation after admitting to causing grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to 23 weeks in custody suspended for 18 months.

He is also required to complete 25 days of rehabilitation activity, 30 sessions of the Building Better Relationships programme and a 120 days of alcohol abstinence monitoring.

An 18-month restraining order has also been imposed, preventing Wagster from approaching or contacting his wife except through a solicitor regarding divorce proceedings or the disposal of their home. 

The incident occurred on November 25 2022 after Mrs Wagster had taken a shower while her husband was doing administrative work in her office. 

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James Gore, prosecuting, said: “She heard a lot of banging from an upstairs room and she got out of the shower. She saw Mr Wagster in her office throwing items around. He was shouting about the WiFi dropping out and he was shouting and screaming.

“She asked, 'What are you doing?' and then told him to stop. But he ignored her and walked into his office. She stood opposite the doorway of her office with her back towards the top of the stairs.

“As she said 'Why are you doing this?' With one hand he reached out and pushed her and made her fall back. She fell down a couple of stairs, landed on her hip and banged her head on a wall. 

“She said she never screamed as much in her life and had never known such pain in her life.

“It was an excruciating pain in her body. She felt she needed an ambulance. She said that when he pushed her he used all of his power. 

“She pleaded with him to call an ambulance or pass a phone so she could but he left her on the stairs for a couple of minutes, he was breathing and snorting heavily in a rage.

“Then with both hands he picked her up and threw her on the landing floor. He then threw her on a bed. She kept begging him to call for an ambulance and calling for help.

“Eventually he passed her a phone. She called 999 and asked for an ambulance. She told them that she had been pushed. He repeatedly contacted her since bail conditions were put in place. He attended the address on a number of occasions.

“She indicates that prior there were various incidents where she had been frightened of Mr Wagster, occasions when she felt that she had to walk on eggshells around him.”

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Wagster had three previous convictions for drink driving including for an incident in 2021 in which he crashed a motorhome during morning rush hour whilst over almost three times the alcohol limit.  

His lawyer shared that the couple had been together for 30 years and said: “His wife is someone he loves very dearly and it is sad that this is ultimately the conclusion of that relationship.

“Alcohol no doubt played a part in the commission of this offence and he also describes crippling stress which as a result means he suffers from psoriasis. He is incredibly proud of his business and has won several awards.

“For the third year consecutively he has won the tree surgeon of the year but ultimately the stress of keeping that business going, combined with the alcohol on the night is what has led to this offence.

“It is a single push with devastating consequences.”

Sentencing Wagster JP Stephen Storey said: “There was a serious injury. It was not grave but it was certainly a serious injury which took a long time to recover from.”

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