Board denies former Lyndeborough man, who abused his wife, parole for at least a few more months

CONCORD – Peter Gage will stay in prison for at least a little longer.

Gage didn’t deny abusing his wife over a 40-year period but, after being refused bail five years ago for not taking responsibility for his crimes, he didn’t own up to it either.

The New Hampshire Adult Parole Board denied Gage, now 80, parole and will meet with him again within three months after a mental health evaluation. Board members expressed doubt that Gage would be successful on parole without a solid plan for a place to live and without mental and physical health services.

Gage had a difficult time hearing parole board members
during his hearing on Thursday, Nov. 14, which was attended by three of Mary Gage’s friends. At times, he appeared confused by board members’ questions and told them he had spent several stints in the prison’s Secure Psychiatric Unit and had a pair of “break downs” immediately following his 2004 arrest.

“I’m very regretful it happened, and I’m very sorry for any discomfort to my wife,” Gage said. “I’m sorry it ever happened. I’ve been very depressed. I’ve had breakdowns in here.”

A longtime friend of Mary Gage, Petr Lord, wasn’t buying it.

“His unremarkable and poorly rehearsed, feeble apology early in the hearing went unheard,” he said in an email following the hearing. “And please know, as friends of Mary, we are committed to seeing this through to the end. If there is another hearing, we will be there.”

Peter Gage was arrested after rescue workers rushed Mary Gage to the hospital from the couple’s Glass Factory Road home in Lyndeborough on Feb. 25, 2004. Residents and officials were shocked to learn the abuse Mary Gage had suffered for more than four decades at her husband’s hands, including beatings, strangling her to the point of unconsciousness and keeping her locked in her room without food or water. Then-Lyndeborough Police Chief Jim Basinas called it the worst case of elderly abuse he had ever seen, police said.

Peter Gage was sentenced to 4-18 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in 2006.

Peter Gage told the parole board he planned to stay at a rooming house if he was let out of prison on parole and then look for an efficiency apartment. He also said he only signed the 2006 plea agreement because he was told it would mean he could go home.

“I was in the middle of a breakdown when I signed those things. I wasn’t myself,” he said.

Board member Mark Furlone asked Gage if he “was himself” when he beat his wife. Gage said he doesn’t “remember a great deal of it.”

Lord said he doubts Peter Gage will ever really admit what he did to his wife.

“While Peter did say he regrets the incident (that led to his arrest), he did not say he is sorry for beating his wife to within an inch of her life. He never will … and that is why he is still behind bars,” Lord wrote.

Peter Gage was denied bail in 2008, Jeff Lyons, Department of Corrections spokesman said, after Gage refused to express remorse or take responsibility for his crimes.

The couple’s son, Lyman Gage, received a suspended sentence and two years of probation, which has since expired, around the time Peter Gage pleaded guilty to assault.

“It’s a wonderful thing to realize that he can’t get to me anymore, because I spent years not saying anything,” Mary Gage said at her husband’s sentencing hearing in 2006. “I was made to understand he couldn’t get away with this behavior anymore, and I feel a tremendous load off my head that I can finally say what he did to me.”

Mary Gage died in 2010 at the age of 81.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.