Jim Burley: Ex-parish Pegswood Parish Council chairman charged

Former chairman of Pegswood Parish Council in Northumberland Jim Burley charged with breaching restraining order

Jim Burley, former Pegswood Parish Council chairman
Jim Burley

A former community leader has appeared in court after being accused of flouting a legal ban on approaching his ex-lover.

Jim Burley, 76, is charged with breaching a restraining order which was imposed by a judge to prevent him from harassing Sharon Auld.

Burley – the former chairman of Pegswood Parish Council in Northumberland – had a five-year relationship with Ms Auld, which she ended in 2006.

The restraining order was made at Newcastle Crown Court in May last year, when he was convicted of sending a series of poison pen letters to her.

Yesterday Burley, a retired coal industry manager of West View, Pegswood, appeared before a district judge at South East Northumberland Law Courts in Bedlington.

He is charged with breaching the order by approaching Ms Auld, 40, in Front Street, Pegswood on July 5. The charge says that, without reasonable excuse, he confronted Ms Auld – and threatened her – which he was prohibited from doing by the order granted on May 3 last year at the crown court.

Burley entered a not guilty plea yesterday and the case was adjourned for a trial in November.

It is alleged that he waited for Ms Auld outside a shop in Pegswood and then made a verbal threat to her when she came out to her car.

Burley was released on unconditional bail pending his trial, as the court was told the restraining order in relation to Ms Auld remains in force.

It was made following his conviction on a charge of racially aggravated harassment, which he had denied, at the Crown Court last year.

Burley began his relationship with Ms Auld in 2001, despite being married.

He resigned as a parish councillor in February 2008 after nine years in the role. He had been council chairman for four years. He and Ms Auld had been colleagues on the parish council, but she stepped down in 2002.

When he resigned in 2008 he put the decision down to a deterioration in his health, which meant he could no longer do the job to the best of his ability.

During his time on the council he was prominent in the successful campaign to secure a �9m bypass for Pegswood. He has also served as chairman of Pegswood Ex-Servicemen’s Club.

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