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13 March 2015, 11:44
A Peterborough man left horrifically scarred after his wife poured scalding water over him has said: ``Being attacked by a woman is nothing to be ashamed of.''
Ken Gregory, 65, suffered first and second degree burns to 14% of his body after the assault at his bungalow in Peterborough.
Pictures of the injuries show painful blistering stretching from his scalp to his lower back. The scars remain almost a year on and some may never fade.
Mr Gregory's ex-wife Teresa Gilbertson, 60, is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent following the attack in March last year.
He decided to speak out, saying it was important to challenge the stigma surrounding men who are victims of abuse.
Retired BT manager Mr Gregory said: ``I had never imagined something like this would happen to me.
``As a man who is a bit older and who isn't exactly small, there is a perception that you can't be a victim of domestic violence.
``I was worried that people would assume that it was my fault and she was the victim - there is still a general perception that, as a strong man against a weaker female, you must have been the protagonist.
``But it should be the same message that they put out for women many years ago: don't be frightened, you don't have to put up with it.''
The couple met through ballroom dancing following the death of Mr Gregory's first wife of more than 30 years, Maureen, seven years ago. But after five years of marriage, their relationship soured.
On the day of the attack on March 23, Mr Gregory had been due to take flowers to his late wife's memorial to mark her birthday. Instead the couple rowed over finances and household chores.
Eventually they reached an apparently mutual decision to get a divorce and Gilbertson offered to make a cup of tea.
Mr Gregory, who has limited mobility due to arthritis, turned down the offer but his wife left the room and returned with a jug of freshly-boiled water.
Without warning, she tipped it over his head, then stood back and told him ``There you go'', he told a trial at Peterborough Crown Court.
It was the culmination of escalating verbal abuse. Three weeks earlier, Mr Gregory needed hospital treatment after Gilbertson threw a cup of tea over him while he slept, in what she claimed was an accident.
When police arrived following the final incident, Mr Gregory said she told officers: ``If I'd wanted to kill him, I'd have used a knife.''
Reliving the incident, Mr Gregory said: ``I was sitting with my back to her and it came without warning.
``It was unbearable, searing pain - I'd never known anything like it.
``Afterwards I could barely sleep as I couldn't lie on my back.''
Experts told the trial that the pattern of the injuries showed the water must have been poured deliberately, not spilt by accident.
Mr Gregory said: ``From the start, the police took it very seriously and even our mutual friends were able to see that I was the innocent party.
``If other men find themselves in this position, I would say don't be embarrassed or ashamed - my case goes to show that this can happen to anybody.''
Detective Inspector Mark Woolner, from Cambridgeshire Police's domestic abuse unit, said the force has specially-trained officers who support both male and female victims of domestic violence.
He said: ``Men affected by domestic abuse often feel that they won't be taken seriously, but this simply isn't the case.''
Gilbertson will be sentenced on March 24 after being found guilty earlier this month.