Veteran dodges jail for attack on wife

A VIETNAM veteran has narrowly escaped time in jail for hitting his wife on the head with a hammer.

The Howard man, who the Chronicle has not named in order to protect his wife, pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to assault occasioning bodily harm.

The court heard the man had just woken from a nap on Wednesday afternoon and wanted a hammer to fix the tack on the upholstery of a chair.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Wayne Bushell said the man passed his wife, who was on the computer, and hit her in the back of the head with a hammer.

"He said something snapped in his head," he said.

Sgt Bushell said when his wife questioned the 62-year-old as to why he did it, the man replied "because you hate me".

The man immediately helped provide first aid to his wife and called paramedics.

His wife of more than 25 years was left with a cut on the back of her head.

The man sat in the dock, staring at his feet, while his wife sat in the back of the courtroom, supported by family and friends.

Both were in tears throughout the case.

Defence lawyer William Hunter said the man had experienced significant post-traumatic stress through his time as a medic in the Vietnam War in 1974.

"The horrors that he has seen after there caused him some grief that he states he is still dealing with," he said.

Mr Hunter said the man saw a psychiatrist once a year but he believed he needed help more often.

He said the man had been receiving treatment since 2005.

Mr Hunter said the man was extremely remorseful for his actions.

"He has no idea why he did what he did," he said.

Mr Hunter said the man also told him it was one of the "stupidest" things he had ever done.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell sentenced the man to nine months' prison which was wholly suspended for two years.

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