A former parish council chairman has spoken of his relief after being cleared of breaching a restraining order imposed to protect his former lover.
Jim Burley, 76, former boss of Pegswood Parish Council, in Northumberland, appeared before magistrates for the second half of his trial at Bedlington yesterday.
He was accused of breaching a restraining order imposed by a crown court judge to protect Sharon Auld.
Ms Auld had told Mid and South East Northumberland magistrates at the start of the trial last week that Mr Burley had said to her: “I will get you, you b****,” when he saw her outside a convenience store in Pegswood on July 5.
But magistrates found that, although both parties agreed the pair had walked passed each other outside the shop, there was not enough evidence to convict him of having said the threatening words.
John Monkhouse, defending, told the court his client had been going to the shop and was not intentionally following Ms Auld and had waited outside the shop when he realised Ms Auld’s car might be parked outside to avoid confrontation. Mr Burley, of West View, was in a relationship with Ms Auld for five years until it ended in 2006. Mr Monkhouse told: “There were inconsistencies in Ms Auld’s evidence. She said she had come out of the shop and seen Mr Burley and, as she was scrambling to get into her car, he said the words “I will get you, you b****”. That’s just absolute nonsense. The CCTV shows he had already walked passed her when she was going to open her car door and she didn’t scramble to get there, she walked slowly.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Burley, who has been diagnosed with cancer, said: “Everything she said was absolutely untrue. The last few weeks have been a nightmare.
“I just can’t understand why she said it. Hopefully, this is now all over but I’ve been saying that for years.”