The grandson of a pensioner who killed and pushed his grandfather in a dispute over the will was sentenced to three years imprisonment for manslaughter. 

John Bathers, 80, fell and hit his head after being pushed by his grandson Ashley Sumner, 31, during a heated dispute on September 6 over his money would be split. 

Sumner has been jailed for three years after admitting manslaughter over the incident at his grandfather’s home in Oswestry, Shropshire.

Sumner put Sumner’s hand on Mr Bathers’ chest, and Sumner then pushed the grandfather. This caused Sumner, who was unsteady on his feet but prone to fallings to fall backwards.

Sumner, from Ellesmere, Shropshire, then left the house and took his grandfather’s car without his permission, Stafford Crown Court heard.

John Bathers (pictured), 80-year-old, fell on his head and was knocked unconscious by Ashley Sumner (31) during a heated debate about how the money would be split.

While Mr. Bathers suffered a swelling and bleeding head, it wasn’t initially believed that he would be severely injured. 

The court heard that his daughters, concerned by the accident, called an ambulance. However they were informed that they would have to wait for at least five hours.

Over the hours that followed, Mr Bathers’s condition deteriorated and he was discovered unconscious at his bedside by his children. He died two days later in hospital. 

His head was later discovered by doctors to have suffered a brain hemorhage that could not be sustained.

Sumner complained to the court that money promised by Mr Bathers was being distributed among family members.

The pair had previously disagreed on the matter, prosecutor Robert Price explained, but this time led to physical contact between the two.

Price stated that the defendant was not happy with the changes he made. “He believed the provision for him was insufficient and unjust.”

“It was evidently a source for tension for him. He was not in agreement with his plan to distribute it.

Mr Bathers was left with a bloodied and swollen head but he was not initially thought to be seriously injured. He died two days later in hospital, Stafford Crown Court (pictured) heard

Although Mr Bathers’ head was swollen and bloody, it was initially not believed that he had suffered serious injuries. He died two days later in hospital, Stafford Crown Court (pictured) heard

Prior to his death, Mr Bathers shared with his loved ones that they had had an argument over money and the will once again and that he had fallen on a rug which caused him to lose his balance.

Price said that Ashley was pushing him backwards after he had placed his hand upon Ashley. 

‘He fell backwards because the corner of the rug was sticking up.’

A court was told that Mr Bathers and his grandson had an affectionate relationship. Sumner viewed Mr Bathers as more of a father figure, as he lived with him while growing up.

Lynette McClement, the defending attorney, stated that Sumner was distressed by his relationships and his drinking habits.

Sumner was admitted to driving without permission, without a licence or insurance and taking a car without consent.

Ms McClement stated that he took his grandfather’s car every day and returned it on the occasion.

“What’s clear, she said was that there was an extremely close bond between Mr Sumner and Mr Bathers. He was the anchor for this young man when all other things failed.

“Mr Sumner stated that he was very upset and devastated by the events of that day.

Ms. Justice May stated that while Sumner was not at fault for his grandfather’s death it was inexcusable to put his hand on an elderly and frail man. There was also the possibility of him being injured.

She said that Mr Bathers was proud to be the grandchild who visited him regularly and helped with chores around the home.

Sumner broke down after he sobbed during the sentencing hearing via video-link.

He said that this made the case even more tragic and embarrassing. He was an old man. He did not deserve your pushing and anger.

“You did not intend to cause his death, but in your anger that is what you did.”

“You must find a way for him to be proud of you and live with it.”