Millionaire facing eviction from his ancestral home for 'making his wife depressed'
A millionaire landowner is facing eviction from his ancestral
home after his wife claimed his 'domineering' behaviour had
made her depressed.
Anthony Arbuthnot Watkins Grubb, 59, whose family has owned
the Mayes Estate in West Sussex for several generations, has
been ordered to move out by a family court judge who granted
his wife Jennifer a divorce.
Mrs Grubb, 53, claims her husband is an 'emotional bully' who
imposed 'extremely prescriptive household rules and regulations'
on her and their five children.
Mr Grubb was given 28 days to move out of the 18th century farmhouse near East Grinstead when the decree nisi was granted in July.
He was also issued with a non-molestation order forbidding him to pester or harass his wife.
Mrs Grubb had told the hearing: 'I feel like I am being shredded. I am absolutely torn down the middle by it all.'
Mr Grubb denies the allegations and has taken his case to the Appeal Court in a bid to have the orders overturned. He has been given permission to remain at the family home until a ruling is made.
Today, his barrister Nicholas Cusworth QC described the decision to order him out of his ancestral home as 'draconian'.
He told the court that Mrs Grubb had no reason to fear her husband and that the atmosphere in the house was no different than in many other homes where couples were going through a divorce.
He added that the seven bedroom home was large enough to be divided so that both parties could live amicably under the same roof.
The couple, whose five children are aged 13 to 23, got married in 1983.
Mayes House - which is set in several hundred acres of farmland - was occupied by Mr Grubb's father until he died in 1996. The property was then rented to friends until 2003 when Mr and Mrs Grubb and their children moved in.
James Turner QC, acting on behalf of Mrs Grubb, told the court that she had been diagnosed with a 'moderately severe depressive disorder'.
He said: 'As a result of her husband's behaviour her health has suffered and will continue to suffer while he remains under the same roof.'
Mr Turner added: 'It was the case of Mrs Grubb that her husband was an emotional bully who had been obsessively and inappropriately controlling of her and the five children.
'He was simply unable to accept the self-evident fact that the marriage had irretrievably broken down and found it impossible to restrain himself from pestering her while they remained under the same roof.'
Mr Turner claimed that Mr Grubb had made 'constant unjustified criticisms' of his wife and had pestered her to enter into post-nuptial agreements once he saw the marriage was in trouble.
He also claimed that Mr Grubb had sometimes verbally abused his wife, could be 'domineering and controlling' and had tried to impose 'extremely prescriptive household rules and regulations' on his family.
Mr Grubb is now awaiting a decision from Lord Justice Wilson on whether he will be allowed to appeal against the decision made by the judge in the earlier divorce hearing.
Speaking at the family home today, Mr Grubb said he 'categorically' denied being an emotional bully and claimed he had done all he could to save his marriage.
He said: 'I have never pestered or harassed her or bullied her. Everything has been twisted and exaggerated by the lawyers.
'We've got so much to be proud of and I would very much like for us to stay married.
'I still love her, she's still the person that I married and I believe she still has some love for me despite everything.'
Friends blamed the financial pressures of sending five children to top boarding schools for the marriage breakdown.
They said the situation was made worse when Mrs Grubb's children's clothing business failed, costing them £60,000.
One friend said: 'She was running the mail order business from home but it collapsed and they lost a lot of money. It was a struggle for them to keep paying the school fees and they were both under a lot of pressure.'
Mr Grubb described the atmosphere at home as 'tense'. He said: 'We live in the same house but we barely speak. I'm not allowed to say anything to her that could be interpreted as pestering or harassing her. The threshold for this is so low I can ask her if she wants a cup of tea but not much else.
'I haven't always been reasonable but I haven't behaved in any way that a normal husband wouldn't behave. It's all been exaggerated and taken out of context.
'I haven't bullied her and I'm not domineering or controlling. I'm just a normal family man who's been very committed to his marriage.
'Our children have not been affected by this, they are all doing very well academically and are very happy. They have had a wonderful upbringing.
They have all been to top boarding schools and had skiing holidays in the best resorts.'
Mrs Grubb was not at home today as she was visiting relatives and was not available to comment.