Chip shop owner killed wife by 'throwing boiling oil over her'

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Geoffrey Bran, right, denies murdering wife Mavis Bran, left. (Picture: Wales News)

A chip shop owner in Wales killed his wife by throwing boiling oil over her, a court heard today.

Geoffrey Bran, 71, denies murdering Mavis Bran in the village of Hermon, Carmarthenshire in October last year.

The 69-year-old woman died in hospital six days after suffering burns at The Chipoteria, which the couple opened in a wooden cabin in January last year.

The jury at Swansea Crown Court was told that Mrs Bran called a friend to come and help after boiling oil was thrown at her.

"Geoff has thrown boiling oil over me. Please get here, I need you now, help,” Mrs Bran told Caroline Morgan on the afternoon of October 23, the jury heard.

She had previously told Ms Morgan she was “frightened” of Mr Bran and was “afraid he was going to kill her”, according to the BBC.

‘Skin was coming off her’

The court heard how Ms Morgan had noticed the couple’s relationship was apparently deteriorating.

After receiving the call from Mrs Bran about having oil thrown on her, Ms Morgan drove to the shop and found Mrs Bran “shocked” and “shaking”.

The court heard that Mrs Bran told Ms Morgan: “I was nagging him and he flipped.”

Ms Morgan the couple’s friend and lodger, Gareth Davies, who lived at their nearby house to call an ambulance.

Mr Bran said Mrs Bran had slipped and pulled the fryer over herself in an accident.

Mr Davies said that the victim returned home naked from the waist up, shouting “I’ve been burned” and “I’ve had boiling hot fat all over me”.

He said her upper body was “crimson” and her skin was peeling off her wrists.

Mrs Bran told Mr Davies to fetch more fish for customers, despite her injuries.

Mavis Bran at the couple's roadside cafe in Hermon, near Carmarthen. (Pictures: Wales News)

An air ambulance took her to the burns unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

She had suffered burns to 46% of her body and later developed sepsis and hypothermia.

Some of her burned skin was removed during surgery but she died of multi-organ failure at the hospital six days after the alleged attack.

After initially being arrested on suspicion of assault, Mr Bran denied attacking his wife.

He told police at the time: “She got burned with the chip fryer. She slipped and it came off the top and went over her. Don’t ask.”

A nurse found he had superficial cut on the front of his head and neck and a scuff abrasion to his right forearm.

He later told police Mrs Bran had become “upset and agitated” because a fryer was dirty and got angry at him because four fish had been spoiled.

He had accused Mrs Bran of throwing the spoiled fish in a temper.

Financial pressures ‘put a strain’ on relationship

Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC told the court that the couple, who had been married for 30 years, were known to both have short tempers, and have 'always argued, swearing and shouting at each other'.

"It appears that financial pressures of their various businesses would at times put a strain on their relationship and they would sometimes argue about money,” he said.

The trial continues.