Former Northumberland solicitor Frances Brough jailed

Former solicitor Frances Brough of Shilbottle near Alnwick has been jailed for a series of assaults and harrassment

Former solicitor Frances Louise Brough
Former solicitor Francis Louise Brough

Fallen former solicitor Frances Brough is today behind bars for a shameful series of sickening assaults.

The suspended Law Society Council member was locked up for six months after she spat in the faces of her elderly parents, shouted abuse and swore at them and lashed out at police.

The 40-year-old also assaulted and aimed abuse at her neighbours, one of whom was terminally ill.

The once-respected personal injury lawyer was sentenced to six months in jail after a district judge condemned her catalogue of offending.

District judge Begley, sentencing at Bedlington court, heard how Brough, of Northside in Shilbottle, near Alnwick, spat in her parents’ faces during a “heated and abusive” argument over their will.

The court was told Brough, who was staying with her parents at the time, had been drinking before she launched the verbal assault on the couple.

First she confronted her mother Ann, 74, who had taken to locking her bedroom door out of fear of her daughter shouting abuse and swearing at her.

Brough said she smelled and was incontinent and spat in her face six times.

She then turned her attentions to her father Francis, 82, who had just arrived home from hospital, yelling and swearing at him and spitting in his face as well.

Police were called to the house but Brough had locked herself in her room and shouted and swore at them. Officers had to physically restrain the defendant in order to handcuff her. As they carried her out to their vehicle she kicked out, while also spitting at, and trying to bite, the officers.

Mr Brough told the court at a previous hearing: “She spat violently in my face, and said she wished I was dead. I just felt like collapsing.”

Brough denied the assaults, in Alnmouth, on April 18, telling police her parents lacked the mental capacity to make statements, but was later found guilty of all three charges.

It was also subsequently proven in her absence that Brough had assaulted another police officer in a separate attack on March 23.

She also admitted breaching a non-molestation order granted on behalf of her parents on August 14 just two days after it had been granted. This happened through a series of phone calls, some silent, which her mother concluded were “manipulative” rather than a “daughter’s love for her mother.”

Most recently, Brough pleaded guilty to harassing neighbour Mandy Rutherford, then assaulting both her and her husband David, a charge she initially denied.

In one incident, Brough said to terminally ill Ms Rutherford: “Here comes the dying one” and threatened to damage her property.

Prosecutor James Long said of Ms Rutherford: “She wants to see out what time she has left in peace.”

John Brown, defending, said his client has developed mental health problems since November 2011, with the offending following. “Before then, she was a perfect member of society, she was on the panel, still is, as the representative of the North East of England on the Law Society. She had a promising career ahead of her with all the privileges that go with that.”

Mr Brown added: “She is really sorry for all the harm she has caused to all the people.”

District judge Begley said: “In more ways than one, this is a very sad case. Not only from your perspective but more importantly from that of your victims.

“For you it is a spectacular fall from grace. The offences are of the utmost depravity.”

Brough was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison and given a two-year restraining order in the case of Mr Rutherford.

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