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Wife who kept husband as a ‘slave’ tells court: ‘I had a thong but it doesn’t mean I was having sex’


The wife of a disabled man who allegedly enslaved him today admitted to having an affair with his caretaker, but argued that owning a thong does not mean she had sex.

Sarah Somerset-How, 49, and lover George Webb, 50, are charged with holding a person in bondage and assault by a counselor at her husband’s home in Chichester, West Sussex.

Webb is also charged with assault with actual bodily harm (ABH) against Mr Somerset-How after allegedly hitting him with a shoe.

Mrs Somerset-How is also charged with fraud and theft.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard that Mrs Somerset-How and Webb allegedly enslaved her husband Tom, barely keeping him alive while spending his money while treating him ‘like a piece of property’.

Sarah Somerset-How (pictured), 49, reportedly kept her disabled husband as a slave

George Webb (pictured) was Mr Somerset-How's carer and had an affair with his patient's wife

George Webb (pictured) was Mr Somerset-How’s carer and had an affair with his patient’s wife

Buying himself lingerie and DJ equipment with cash received from relatives, the 40-year-old, an “intelligent” history student with cerebral palsy, was left as a “prisoner in his own house,” a jury has said. told.

Sarah Somerset-How said Webb was her “rock” and that they had “grown closer than we should have.” But she denied a long-running relationship, saying the fling that began shortly after they first met fizzled out after six months and flared up again briefly three years later.

When asked about text messages between her and Webb about her underwear, she told the court, “Just because I had a thong doesn’t mean I had sex.”

Ms Somerset-How told jurors today that her husband ‘didn’t go without a thing’.

Under cross-examination by her lawyer, Mrs Somerset-How said: ‘I met George and saw how well he got along with Tom. He hit the ground running. Tom had exactly what he wanted, when he wanted.

“Tom didn’t go without something. The care was beyond what was necessary.’

When asked if she had ever witnessed Webb attack Mr Somerset-How, she said ‘no, never, there was never an incident’.

She said that if Webb had punched Mr. Somerset-How, she would have fired him. She told the court that her husband had never worried her about his care, and that the allegations of neglect were “nonsense.”

Tom Somerset-How is disabled and must use a wheelchair and had a live-in carer at his home

Tom Somerset-How is disabled and must use a wheelchair and had a live-in carer at his home

When asked about the condition of the house, Mrs. Somerset-How said: ‘The house was always clean. Always clean. The bathroom was spotless after the mold was removed.’

“George was my support network. We got really close, maybe we were closer than we should have been.

“He was my rock and my support.”

She told the jury that they got “intimate” in 2016, but it only lasted six months and started again briefly in 2019.

When asked how she felt when her husband was “rescued” by social services, she said: “I was shocked. I couldn’t comprehend it.’

When asked by the prosecution why, if her husband had been well cared for, a doctor described him as “pale,” she said “he hasn’t caught the sun.”

Paul Cavin KC said, ‘Isn’t that nonsense? Your case is that Tom was perfectly fine and taken care of by you and George. He had no complaints. He wasn’t kept in bed all the time.’

To which she replied ‘he would make his own choices. He was taken out a lot.”

Mr. Cavin said, “So in regards to these years, until he asked to be removed, he was pretty lucky?” She replied, “he got what he wanted.”

Mr Cavin asked her, ‘How did you get George to collect thousands of pounds in debt in your name? You were skinning Tom to fund your lifestyle – studios, travel, concerts.

“The truth is you saddled Tom with these two loans knowing there wasn’t enough money to pay them back.”

Mrs. Somerset-How said, “We had a five-year plan to pay it back.”

When asked about text messages between her and Webb about “thongs,” she said “just because I had a thong doesn’t mean I had sex.”

The court learned that Webb started working for the couple in 2016.

They allegedly left wheelchair-bound Mr Somerset How – who is nearly blind and in need of 24-hour care – in bed 90 per cent of the time, showering him once a week and not brushing his teeth for a year have brushed.

For food he would only have a packet of crisps and a sandwich, the court was told, as Somerset-How carried out a plan to ‘banish’ him from his family and use him as a ‘cash cow’.

The jury was told that Mr Somerset-How finally managed to raise the alarm about how he was treated with a friend alerting his parents.

They then carried out a rescue operation with police and social services, “an operation that had the characteristics of extracting someone as a hostage,” the court heard.

Webb and Somerset-How deny all allegations.

The trial at Portsmouth Crown Court continues.

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