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Bride's father jailed after revenge attack on cheating son-in-law

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 04, 2013

  • WAITING: Thatcher, left, and the mystery attacker wait outside Philip Stow's hotel door, and right, Thatcher throwing a punch at Philip Stow.


HER WEDDING day was one of the happiest of her life but Sarah Penhaligon's dreams were shattered when her new husband told her on their honeymoon that he had met someone else and was leaving her.

Devastated at his daughter's anguish, her father, Stephen Thatcher, confronted her estranged husband and new partner in their bedroom at a Newquay hotel.

Thatcher left son-in-law Philip Stow in a bloody mess when he carried out the "revenge" attack.

At Truro Crown Court on Wednesday, 51-year-old Thatcher was jailed for a year after he admitted assaulting Mr Stow, causing him actual bodily harm.

Jason Beal, defending Thatcher, of Edgcumbe Avenue, Newquay, said the couple, who married last September at Newquay's Atlantic Hotel after a four-year relationship, were on a belated honeymoon in Mexico in January when Mr Stow broke up with her, saying the relationship was over and that he was seeing another woman.

Mr Beal said the break-up had a devastating effect on Thatcher's daughter, who was admitted to hospital after taking an overdose a few days before the attack.

Mr Stow was living with his new partner Stacey Edwards in the Sutherland Hotel, on Mount Wise, on March 3 this year, when Thatcher and his friends, who had been drinking, arrived at the hotel bar at about 9.40pm.

Phillip Lee, for the prosecution, said Thatcher asked for access to the accommodation area but the hotel owner refused and warned that he would call the police if an attempt was made to go upstairs. Thatcher ignored this and, along with an unidentified male, he forced the door and went to Mr Stow's room where he was dragged into the hallway.

Mr Lee said: "They were shouting. They both struck him on a number of occasions, punching him with their fists to his head and body."

Miss Edwards, who was in the room, tried to intervene but was assaulted by Thatcher. Mr Stow, who was only wearing boxer shorts because he had been in bed, managed to escape downstairs and Thatcher and the unknown man left, saying 'this is vengeance'.

The next day Thatcher, who owns a guesthouse and 20 rental properties in the Newquay area, sent his former son-in-law a text message, which read: "We love you like a son. You have devastated our family but that is no excuse for what happened, sorry."

Mr Stow was left with damage to his teeth and cuts and bruises to his face which required hospital treatment.

Mr Beal said Thatcher had no previous relevant convictions and understood that his behaviour had been unacceptable.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, said there was absolutely no justification for the "revenge" attack.

He said: "His mouth ended up a bloody mess. (He had) severe damage to his front teeth and, from what I have heard, serious physiological consequences.

"It may be that you say he deserved it, but not in civilised society.

"You know perfectly well that you went beyond the pale."

Thatcher was given 12 months in jail for attacking Mr Stow and a concurrent two-month sentence for assaulting Miss Edwards.

He was ordered to pay £2,500 compensation to Mr Stow, £500 in prosecution costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

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