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Shamed Northumberland solicitor admits attacking neighbours

Former personal injury lawyer Frances Brough to now be sentenced for assaulting parents, police and Shilbottle villagers

Former solicitor Francis Louise Brough

A shamed ex-solicitor is waiting to be sentenced for a string of assaults and harassment after dropping her claims of innocence.

Former Law Society Council member Frances Louise Brough attacked her elderly parents and lashed out at police.

And she could now face a jail term after admitting assaulting her neighbours.

Appearing before Bedlington Magistrates for sentencing the 40-year-old changed her pleas to guilty over accusations she intimidated and attacked Mandy and David Rutherford – charges that were to see her go on trial next month.

Now the court must decide what punishment to hand out for a catalogue of offences committed by the once respected personal injury lawyer.

At a trial last month, magistrates heard how Brough, of North Side in Shilbottle near Alnwick, spat in her parents’ faces during a “heated and abusive” argument over their will.

The court was told that Brough had been drinking before she launched a verbal assault on the couple, first confronting her mother Ann, 74, shouting abuse at her and then spitting in her face three times.

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, but as they carried her out to their vehicle she kicked out, spitting at and trying to bite the officers.

Mr Brough – who gave evidence to the court via a videolink – told the court at a previous hearing: “She spat three times, 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, but was found guilty of all three charges.

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

She has also admitted breaching a non-molestation order granted on behalf of her parents, on August 14.

And yesterday she pleaded guilty to, in early July, harassing her neighbour Mandy Rutherford, then on July 31 assaulting both Mandy and David Rutherford.

Exact details of the nature of the attacks were not given during the brief hearing.

Brough will be sentenced next week after her solicitor obtains medical reports and other documents to use in her mitigation, and prosecutors review the most recent assault cases.

 

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