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Woman told friend her husband had thrown hot oil over her before death, court hears

Mavis Bran died in hospital six days after the incident

A chip shop owner who died from burns told a friend her husband had poured scalding hot cooking oil over her during a row, a court has heard.

Mavis Bran, 69, said her husband of 30 years, Geoffry Bran, 71, had ''flipped'' because she was nagging him.

Bran is on trial at Swansea Crown Court accused of murdering his wife with a deep fat fryer at the Chipoteria chip shop in Hermon, Carmarthenshire.

Family friend Caroline Morgan, who had known the Brans for 20 years, told the jury that Mrs Bran had phoned her after the incident.

''She was screaming down the phone, 'Help me, help me, emergency, emergency. Geoffrey threw boiling oil over me. Help me, help me, get here now, I am burnt to hell','' she said.

''She hung up straight away. I just said I would get there as quickly as I could.''

Mrs Morgan said that, when she arrived, Mr Bran asked her to cook two pieces of fish for a customer but she refused, telling him to close the chip shop - and went to see his wife, who had burns to her face, hands and neck.

'She was going into shock. She had a thick duvet over her and was rocking backwards and forwards like an old lady. She said she was in pain,'' Mrs Morgan said.

''She asked me why Geoffrey would do something like this.

''I asked her what had happened and she had been nagging Geoffrey, he had flipped and he threw the oil over her.

''I didn't know whether I believed her because I didn't think Geoffrey could do something like that but, as she kept saying it again and again, I believed it.''

Mrs Morgan said Bran never asked her how his wife was and neither he nor lodger Gareth Davies had phoned for an ambulance.

''I asked Geoffrey what happened and he said she had slipped and poured the fryer over herself,'' she said.

Geoffrey Bran, from Hermon, denies murder.

Christopher Clee QC, defending, suggested to Mrs Morgan that Mrs Bran was ''strong-willed and dominant'' and was ''always nagging'' Bran, with which she agreed.

''Geoffrey Bran was the calm on,'' the barrister said.

''The phrase 'He wouldn't say boo to a goose' and she would say some dreadful things, wouldn't she? Telling him that she wished he was dead? He wouldn't respond.''

Mrs Morgan replied: ''He would just tell her to shut up. Once I saw him push her into a chair in the house. That's because she was nagging him. She wasn't drunk but she had had something to drink.''

She described a phone call she received from Mrs Bran a few weeks before she died, telling the court: ''She phoned me once saying she was scared for her life and that he was going to kill her. She just said he got nasty.''

Mr Clee suggested that to Mrs Morgan that Mrs Bran would start drinking at 10:30am and would drink two or three bottles of wine a day.

''At the time leading up to her death she was drinking more during the day?'' he asked.

''I think so, yes.'' Mrs Morgan replied.

The jury also heard from customer Guto Jones, who arrived at the chip shop shortly after Mrs Bran had been hurst and spoke to the defendant, who said there had been an accident.

''He pointed towards the table and the chip fryer was on the floor and oil was on the floor. He said 'Mavis has burnt herself','' Mr Jones said.

''I asked how it happened and he said Mavis must have caught it on something. He didn't say how it happened. He said that she had put E45 (cream) on it.''

Mrs Bran died in hospital six days after the alleged incident in October last year. Mr Bran, from Hermon, denies murder.

The trial continues.