Police inspector fined for assaulting his wife

A wife battered by her police inspector husband tonight told how she was too scared to call for help as she feared he would use his position to “play the system”.

A wife battered by her police inspector husband tonight told how she was too scared to call for help as she feared he would use his position to “play the system”.

Insp Michael Lamb, who served in Norfolk police's Wymondham headquarters until he was suspended following the attack last year, was warned he could have been jailed for up to six months after pleading guilty to common assault.

He escaped with fines, compensation and legal costs totalling £4,000 after Judge Jeremy Richards heard of his remorse and previous good character. But Mr Richards described his behaviour as the kind of domestic violence which was a “scourge on our society”.

Lamb, 45, of Tag Way, Rackheath, now faces a disciplinary hearing to decide whether he can keep his £50,000-a-year job in the force's control room.

Norwich Crown Court heard that he lashed out at his wife Deborah in July after she returned to their home in Wymondham in the early hours following a night out. She accidentally woke him as she climbed into bed so he pinned her to the bed and shouted in her face.

When she struggled free and locked herself in her daughter's bedroom to call for help he disconnected the phone before kicking down the door. He then dragged her down the stairs and pushed her against a wall causing injuries which required hospital treatment.

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Outside court Mrs Lamb said: “The abuse I've suffered at Michael Lamb's hands and the stress of bringing this complaint against a man in his position as a police inspector has taken its toll on me.

“This case was made all the worse because he was a serving officer and made me feel that he knew the system and used it to his advantage. This made me feel even more vulnerable.”

Prosecutor Luke Blackburn told the court that throughout the couple's relationship Lamb had acted in a “belittling, aggressive and, at times, violent” manner. This included an incident in 2001 when he had held her down and screamed in her face. She was forced to head butt him to break free but he retaliated by throwing her down the stairs.

The couple, who are now divorcing, had lived together for several years with Mrs Lamb's two daughters from a previous marriage. However, in the months leading up to the attack last year their relationship had deteriorated.

On the night of the incident, Mrs Lamb tried to escape but realised the telephone had been disconnected. She climbed on to the window sill and considered jumping but realised she would suffer serious injury.

It was then that Lamb burst into the room, pulled her away from the window and dragged her down the stairs.

A heated argument began and he lashed out, hitting her with his fist and forearm. She fell against the wall hitting her shoulder, leaving her unable to move her right arm. Mrs Lamb was unable to return to work as a secretary at Norfolk County Council for six weeks.

In a statement she told how, as she lay crying in pain, her tears seemed to make him angry. “He told me I was putting it on and being pathetic,” she said.

Lamb eventually drove his wife to accident and emergency at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. But he left quickly saying he could not be of any help and it is believed he returned home to repair the lock broken as he barged into the room.

Mitigating, Michael Clare said there were two sides to every story but his client did not want to “wash dirty linen in public”. He added: “It was at the height of a domestic argument. He did not set out in a determined manner to cause her injury.

“He is sorry, ashamed and embarrassed as one would expect of a police inspector who has had to plead guilty to common assault.”

After leaving court, Lamb told the EDP he was genuinely sorry. He added: “I hope we can both get on with our lives now.”

Mrs Lamb said: “I am not an emotional person who gets upset, but since the assault last July, I have been tearful and constantly look over my shoulder.

“My life has degenerated from one where I could confidently undertake daily tasks alone, to one where I cannot do even the simplest things without support.”

Police spokesman Simon Morgan said the force adopted a robust stance when dealing with domestic violence. “We will prosecute offenders, no matter who they are,” he added.