Former solicitor guilty of spitting assault on parents

A former solicitor assaulted her elderly parents by deliberately spitting in their faces during a “heated and abusive” argument over their will

Former solicitor Frances Louise Brough
Former solicitor Francis Louise Brough

A former solicitor assaulted her elderly parents by deliberately spitting in their faces during a “heated and abusive” argument over their will, a court was told yesterday.

Frances Louise Brough, 40, had been drinking before she launched a verbal assault on the couple, after voicing her displeasure over provisions made in the will.

First she confronted her mother Ann, 74, shouting abuse at her and then spitting in her face three times, the court heard.

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

Police were called to the house and had to physically restrain Brough and carry her out to their vehicle after she kicked out, spat at and tried to bite the officers.

One of the officers who arrested her said she was clearly drunk at the time, as her eyes were glazed and her speech slurred.

Yesterday Brough, a former personal injury lawyer who lives at North Side, Shilbottle near Alnwick, appeared before magistrates in Bedlington in connection with the incidents, which happened at her parents’ home near Alnmouth in April.

She denied assaulting the couple and a police officer, but was found guilty on all three charges. Sentence was adjourned until next month for a probation service report to be prepared.

Sarah O’Neill, prosecuting, said Brough had been staying with her parents at the time and got into a heated argument with her mother about the will, and the provisions made for her in it.

The following day Brough continued to voice her displeasure about the arrangements made, and the row escalated when her father arrived home.

Miss O’Neill said Brough was verbally abusive to her mother and then spat in her face while shouting at her. She then did the same thing to her father.

When police officers arrived Brough was hostile and aggressive towards them. She kicked out at one officer while he was trying to handcuff her, and was struggling and throwing herself around.

She kicked one of the officers in the leg, refused to calm down and tried to bite and spit at them, forcing them to put limb restraints on her.

Mr and Mrs Brough gave evidence via a video link to spare them the ordeal of facing their daughter in court.

Mrs Brough – who said the incident left her feeling dreadful – said her daughter spat in her face three times during the confrontation.

Mr Brough said: “She spat three times, violently, in my face, and said she wished I was dead. I just felt like collapsing.”

Brough told the court she had an argument with her parents because of a “mistake” that had been made in their will, but denied shouting and swearing at them, or being drunk.

“My father became more aggrieved and mother was trying to calm him down. We were all shouting at each other. I did not spit at my mother or father and there was no physical contact,” she added.

However the magistrates told her they believed she had deliberately spat on her parents during a heated and abusive argument about their estate. They said they found Mr and Mrs Brough “very credible witnesses” in what was an extreme situation.


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