A pensioner was handed a suspended sentence after admitting to controlling and bullying his wife.

John Wallis, 81, from Huntingdon, pleaded guilty to a charge of coercive and controlling behaviour towards his 74-year-old wife, as well as a second charge of breaching a restraining order.

Huntingdon Crown Court was told that Wallis was arrested on May 2 after his wife told hospital staff he had been bullying her.

Wallis had previously been convicted of a common assault on his wife in September 2015 and, as a result, was given a six-month restraining order with a condition not to go to their marital home.

The victim told Cambridgeshire police that Wallis had tried to stop her from seeing family, she was also not allowed to make phone calls to her family in private, and Wallis would also check her e-mails.

At the start of this year, the victim fell ill and, the court was told, Wallis's behaviour worsened, including an incident in which he visited her at home, in breach of his restraining order.

Over the next couple of months the victim was in and out of hospital with Wallis constantly by her side. He was interviewed about all of the allegations but denied any wrongdoing and, on May 3, he was charged.

During the following months, Wallis was arrested for breaking his bail conditions by calling his wife at home, writing her a letter and a poem and sending her a drawing.

He was arrested again on August 27, remanded in custody and was due to stand trial on November 1 but changed his plea.

Speaking to The Hunts Post after the hearing, Wallis said he had breached his restraining order because his wife was gravely ill and had called him for help. He added that his wife was subsequently hospitalised and that he had had no choice but to call at her home because of the seriousness of her condition.

Wallis said he had sought to abide by the terms of his restraining order by moving into rented accommodation, as well as staying with family, and added he had pleaded guilty to spare his wife, to whom he had been married for more than 30 years, from a trial hearing.

He was handed nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

He was also given a 12 month supervision and restraining order not to contact the victim or go to the street where she resides.