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Former Faversham B&B owner Clare Weston acquitted of abusing husband

A former Faversham luxury B&B owner has been acquitted of bullying her husband after the jury took less than an hour to return its verdict.

Clare Weston had said her alleged 'hateful and hurtful' verbal abuse was just a reflection of her own 'frustration and exasperation'.

Maidstone Crown Court. Stock picture (22567222)
Maidstone Crown Court. Stock picture (22567222)

She had been secretly recorded on nine occasions by her estranged husband Simon ranting at him for failing to carry out household chores at Shepherd House, a converted Georgian townhouse in Faversham.

Weston had denied using controlling and coercive behaviour.

Maidstone Crown Court had spent the past few days hearing allegations that she had called her husband a 'stupid little boy' and a 'disgusting scumbag'.

The 41-year-old - who refused to comment afterwards - said she had been 'reacting emotionally' to the pressure of their acrimonious divorce.

Shepherd House in Preston Street, Faversham
Shepherd House in Preston Street, Faversham

She admitted being angry and regretting the 'unpleasant' things she said in their final weeks together but maintained any threats she made to harm her husband or destroy his belongings were 'empty' ones.

Asked whethercomments about the death of thechartered surveyor's mother were intended to blame him, Weston told the jury: "I think I was using the circumstances of Simon's mother's death as a way of expressing the exasperation and frustration that I felt."

She added: "I cannot imagine another situation in my life where I faced losing my home, a business I have built up over five years, my marriage, and had a unique property to sell."

Weston was alleged to have treated her husband 'like a slave', and on at least two occasions caused him to fear he would be subjected to violence.

"I cannot imagine another situation in my life where I faced losing my home, a business I have built up over five years, my marriage, and had a unique property to sell" - Clare Weston

He told the court he was hit, kicked and verbally attacked between September 2017 and February this year, and began taking photographs of any injuries he suffered.

He also used his iPhone, hidden in a trouser pocket, to record audio from their confrontations.

When accused by prosecutor Daniel Smith of treating her dog better than her husband, she replied: "I'm not sure I would make those parallels."

She also claimed Mr Weston was being 'deliberately difficult' and trying to 'sabotage' the running of their jointly-owned, highly-rated boutique hotel in Faversham.

During cross-examination by Mr Smith she was asked why she could be heard swearing at her husband for simply using the 'wrong' kettle to make tea.

"I was angry because it seemed he was deliberately trying to cause an argument with me when I was working," the former business development manager replied.

In one recording, Weston could be heard incessantly shouting and swearing at her husband for more than four minutes to bring some curtain blinds up from the basement.

But she told the court she never intended to harm her husband, and was 'shocked at the lengths' he went to by reporting her to the police.

The court heard the couple, who married in 2014 and opened the B&B to guests in September 2015 after carrying out extensive renovations, are not yet divorced.

They are also still to reach a settlement over the £500,000 made from the proceeds of selling the seven-bedroomed property last month.

After the verdicts, Weston thanked the judge and the jury.

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