Cumbria Crack

Cancer suffering Wigton dad forced to sleep rough during “appalling” control by son

Ben Wiggins

A VIOLENT drug-taking son who subjected his terminally ill dad to “an almost daily campaign of threats, abuse, intimidation, degradation and violence which went on for months” has been jailed.

Greedy Ben Wiggins “took everything and did nothing” after returning to live with 73-year-old father Brian having been released from a previous prison term on licence.

Wiggins, 30, constantly drank alcohol, used cannabis and injectable drugs while indulging in addictions to the maximum extent and at his dad’s expense, Carlisle Crown Court heard today (THURS).

“Violence and threats became routine,” said prosecutor Brendan Burke. “Things went missing – even Mr Wiggins’ vinyl records, paintings, and his tropical fish. All of that, no doubt, was to pay for drugs. Even the defendant’s cancer medication was disappearing as well.”

Penniless Wiggins brandished a poker around the house, demanded cash, threw knives and made threats to kill his vulnerable dad most weeks. When the pensioner complained about loud late night music, he was grabbed by the throat by his son, who boasted he could do “whatever he liked”.

Mr Wiggins senior was forced to flee the house in which he’d lived all his life and slept rough, spending at least one night in a smoking shelter outside Wigton’s Legion club. Police became involved after he desperately contacted a mental health team in the town, one member noting him to be underweight and unkempt.

Wiggins – who also drove away his brother as he sought to assist their father – was arrested and later admitted controlling and coercive behaviour and two common assaults. “It was an almost daily campaign of threats, abuse, intimidation, degradation and violence going on for months,” said Mr Burke.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Wiggins senior spoke of going without food some days as his “greedy” son “helped himself to everything”. “He said he was terrified that the defendant would kill him and he did believe he would do it,” added the prosecutor.

His condition had since improved with his son remanded in custody.

Wiggins, latterly of Brindlefield, Wigton, was jailed for 27 months, and banned from contacting his dad for five years.

“Throughout all of this, Ben Wiggins, you had choices, and your choice was to behave in the most grotesque, abusive and unpleasant way to your own father, who offered you nothing more than support,” said Judge Nicholas Barker.

“He was a diminished and reduced elderly, unwell man. This is, by any standards, an appalling incident of coercive and controlling behaviour.”