An aristocrat whose life of "privilege and almost limitless opportunities" spiralled into drug abuse and violence was jailed for two years yesterday for attacking his wife after he moved his girlfriend into their stately marital home.
Lord Edward Somerset (55) admitted assaulting his wife on a number of occasions over 22 years after she confronted him about his drug use and argued over his decision to bring his girlfriend for weekday stays at their home on the 22,500-acre Badminton Estate.
Somerset was told by a judge he had inflicted "repeated and deliberate" acts of violence against his wife because of his drug and alcohol addictions and his uncontrollable temper. He admitted four counts of causing actual bodily harm.
The attacks – in which Lady Caroline suffered bruising, scratching, hair pulling and a fractured finger – took place on the estate in Gloucester where the couple lived between 1990 and 2012.
She needed hospital treatment last year from two attacks after she argued with her husband because he took crack cocaine in front of his youngest daughter.
Bristol Crown Court heard that Lady Caroline moved out of the Badminton estate three years ago while she had treatment for alcohol addiction. She went back to Badminton at weekends – while Somerset's girlfriend was there during the week.
He kicked out at his wife when she challenged him about the arrangement.
Prosecutor Rob Allen said: "This case is a reminder that domestic violence permeates all sections of our society."