FRAIL pensioner Barbara Heywood lived in fear of her abusive husband and repeatedly told nursing staff and social workers that she did not want him to return home after discharge from hospital.

But her pleas went unrecognised as domestic abuse and on March 27, 2019, 89-year-old Arthur Heywood killed her at their Ramsay Avenue, Farnworth, home.

In a trial of facts at Manchester Crown Court the killing was described as "the last act of a failing marriage".

Just days after being discharged from hospital Mr Heywood stabbed his 80-year-old wheelchair-bound wife to death and rang 999 to tell the operator,"I just want you to take her away".

The violence was the culmination of abuse the former nurse had suffered from her retired scaffolder husband.

READ MORE: Professionals failed to realise OAP was domestic abuse victim

Tragic pensioner: Lessons to be learned

As part of a safeguarding review carried out following Mrs Heywood's death, one of the couple's three children stated that her father could be "massively volatile", verbally and physically aggressive and cruel to animals.

She tried to persuade her mother to leave but believes they were together for so long that they could not separate.

The review found that, before 2019, Mrs Heywood did not report domestic abuse to any agency although, during a session with a psychological therapist in 2008 she disclosed family issues and Mr Heywood became verbally aggressive to the therapist.

On February 21, 2019 Mr Heywood was admitted to the Royal Bolton Hospital with kidney problems and the family felt Mrs Heywood did not want him to return home.

The Bolton News: Arthur Heywood outside courtArthur Heywood outside court

During his stay in hospital Mr Heywood, who was later diagnosed with dementia, was noted to be confused but eventually medically fit for discharge, although on March 6 he assaulted a nurse and health care assistant.

On March 14, during a visit to her home by a community nurse, Mrs Heywood revealed that her husband was volatile and aggressive when carers were not in the house and she felt unsafe. Mrs Heywood asked if her husband's discharge from hospital could be postponed.

Her concerns were passed to social workers and the same day Mrs Heywood also phoned the hospital ward to tell staff she did not want her husband back at the house.

"The community nurse said that [Barbara] had indicated she did not want him to return home even with a care package. She could not cope," states the review report.

But a social worker decided that Mrs Heywood's concerns did not warrant a safeguarding enquiry, even after the pensioner reiterated to them that she could not cope with her husband returning home and wanted alternative care arrangements for him.

The following day Mrs Heywood again told the social worker that her husband had been aggressive towards her. "She said she did not feel safe living with him," stated the report.

The social worker mentioned the concerns to Mr Heywood, but he claimed he would not hit his wife and he wanted to go home.

READ MORE: Judge rules killer OAP should be kept in hospital

Mrs Heywood then agreed that he could be discharged home with a care package in place and said she would telephone police if he became aggressive.

In the days before the killing, care staff visiting the Heywoods' home did not report any concerns but on the night she died, Mrs Heywood sent a text message to her son stating, "If he raises his sticks to me it is 999".

At 8.12am on March 27 Mr Heywood called the emergency services to say that they had argued and he had stabbed his wife in the stomach. She died at the scene.