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Gedney Drove End woman is desperate to bring home disabled husband who is suffering the impact of a one-punch attack





A devoted wife says she feels suicidal after waiting five years to bring her disabled husband home.

Michelle Sage (57) and husband Graham had been living in Gedney Drove End for 16 years when, at the age of 62, he was punched by a stranger on a night out in a horrific incident that left him on life support. He has been cared for at Askham Village Community in Doddington, near Chatteris, ever since the random attack.

Now Michelle is only able to visit her husband of 27 years once a week due to the cost of travelling nearly 30 miles.

Michelle and Graham Sage
Michelle and Graham Sage

Mrs Sage said she was initially offered adapted accommodation by South Holland District Council but felt these were unsuitable. She was then offered an extension and wetroom – which would cost £100,000. The council has said this is a complex case and that it is waiting on assessments from the NHS.

But Mrs Sage says no progress has been made with housing and it is affecting her mental health so badly she feels suicidal.

She said: “I really don’t want to be here and I think what’s the point of being alive. We have been through a hell of a lot and it is really getting me down.

“At the moment I don’t feel that I am a married woman.

“I am really suffering and my depression is really sky high and it is bad enough coping with Graham without this on top of it.”

Michelle Sage. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
Michelle Sage. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

The incident which changed the couple’s lives irreversibly happened while visiting family members in Chesterfield and a man tried to chat up a woman with them.

After leaving the pub, the man punched Graham and his head hit the concrete - causing blood to come out of his nose and ears.

He was taken to Chesterfield hospital and then onto Stoke on Trent where he was on a life support machine for seven weeks and put into a coma for a further 12 weeks.

Michelle Sage, and right, with her husband Graham before the life-changing attack
Michelle Sage, and right, with her husband Graham before the life-changing attack

Graham was later transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, where he had many operations and suffered four bleeds on the brain, had half of his skull removed.

With such a severe head injury, Mrs Sage was told by doctors that Graham might not survive.

The man who caused the injuries was sentenced to 18 months and served seven months in prison.

This caused Mrs Sage to ‘cry in temper’ as she gave a statement describing how it has affected their lives and how leaving her husband like this was ‘disgusting.’

Mrs Sage has been told that Graham will never walk again and can’t bring herself to tell him that his mother has died.

She said: “I feel I didn’t fulfil his mother’s wishes while she was alive to see him come home.

“I am on medication, I can an only afford to visit once a week and it is draining me.”

Graham Sage now
Graham Sage now

Graham recognises his wife and can speak in sentences that she understands but is unable to make decisions for himself and feels that progress with the council is like ‘banging her head against a brick wall.’

She said: “What do I say when he asks ‘when am I coming home?’”

In February last year, Mrs Sage says council workers came to measure up for an extension and wet room with plans drawn up to submit but then heard nothing more about it.

In January this year, she claims that council officers said that there would be a meeting to make a decision as the costs had risen from £80,000 to £100,000.

Mrs Sage said: “You’re talking about people’s lives here and they have messed me about so much.

“They suggested he comes home for a weekend once a month but if they hadn’t messed me about he could have come home straight away.”

Councillor Tracey Carter, deputy leader and portfolio holder for communities and operational housing, said: “Officers from the council’s housing team met with Mr and Mrs Sage in May of 2023 when they visited the property in Gedney Drove End, to carry out an assessment and discuss what potential alternations would need to be made.

“Several further visits were made with a Lincolnshire County Council Occupational Therapist throughout 2023, a number of concerns were raised including the rural location of the property making routine care packages difficult, the round-the-clock care needed and the need for a completely sterile environment.

“The NHS Continuing Health team have advised the Council that no alterations should be made to the property until capacity assessments have been carried out, which as of 9 May 2024 they still haven’t been.

“The Council’s Allocations team also contacted Mrs Sage about the possibility of moving to a more suitable property, which had been adapted previously. However, this was declined.

“As a Council we remain committed to supporting our tenants to the best of our ability. At no time did Officers suggest we wouldn’t be able to support Mr Sage’s return home. However, in complex cases where housing, care and welfare needs must be coordinated; the Council are reliant on a Partnership approach to ensure the needs of the individual can be met.”

- Samaritans offer FREE round-the-clock, confidential support to anyone who wants to talk through their problems, which could include relationship and family problems, bereavement, financial worries, job-related stress, or college and study-related stress.

Call Samaritans on 116 123; calls are free from any phone, or visit www.samaritans.org to find out about the wide-ranging support on offer from Samaritans and other organisations.



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