Disgraced ex-solicitor faces jail over £22,000 travel expenses fraud

Frances Brough is facing jail for fleecing the Law Society out of more than £22,000 in bogus travel expenses, Southwark Crown Court heard

Francis Louise Brough
Francis Louise Brough

A lawyer who attack her parents wept yesterday as a judge reminded her of the high-flying career she has thrown away.

Frances Brough, 41, from Shilbottle in Northumberland, is facing jail for fleecing the Law Society out of more than £22,000 in bogus travel expenses, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Brough was recently locked up for six months after she spat in the faces of father Francis, 82, and mother Ann, 74, during a heated argument about their will. She also has a conviction for sinking her teeth into 61-year-old Linda Boyd after another row in December 2011.

Brough, who has been suspended as a Law Society Council representative for the North East of England, also bared her teeth at officers after being arrested during the drunken fight with her parents in August of last year.

She also hurled abuse at her terminally ill neighbour, Mandy Rutherford, telling her “here comes the dying one”, before assaulting her and her husband, David, and threatening to damage their property. She was also convicted in absence of assaulting a police officer in yet another incident on March 23 this year.

Yesterday her defence counsel Susannah Stevens told the court that sentencing for the fraud would have to be delayed, as she had spent the Christmas holidays harassing her parents yet again.

She said: “On New Year’s Eve an allegation was made by Miss Brough’s parents - a suspected breach of a non-molestation order. She was before the court on New Year’s day.”

Days after being bailed, “a further allegation of a breach was made by her parents, so it is an incredibly sorry tale,” the court heard.

Judge Price agreed to defer the fraud sentencing so a psychiatric report could be prepared.

The judge commented: “You hear some sad cases, don’t you? I see the defendant organised the ball at Gray’s Inn a few years ago.”

Brough made a string of fraudulent claims for rail travel, accommodation and care allowance costs totaling £22,847 between January 27, 2009, and July 20, 2011. She was exposed after the Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, launched an investigation into expenses irregularities.

The lawyer originally denied nine counts of fraud and had been due to stand trial. But she admitted a single fraud charge reflecting her overall criminality and the remaining counts were dropped.

Brough will be sentenced on March 28. She was remanded to Durham Prison.

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