Guilty of assault on her parents

Frances Louise Brough
Frances Louise Brough

A woman has been found guilty of assaulting her elderly parents after a court heard she spat in their faces during a ‘heated and abusive’ argument over their will.

Frances Louise Brough, 40, of Northside, Shilbottle, denied the charge.

But Mid and South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court at Bedlington heard on Monday that Brough was drunk when she started arguing with her 74-year-old mother, Ann, at her parents’ home in Bilton on April 18.

The argument, which related to provisions for Brough in her parents’ will, then escalated and ended with Brough spitting in her mother’s face three times.

She then gave her father, Derek, 81, the same treatment as he arrived at the house by ambulance car after a stay in hospital.

Police were called and had to physically restrain Brough to arrest her, using limb restraints, as she tried to spit and bite officers.

Giving evidence, PC Sharpless said Brough was clearly drunk, was slurring her speech and smelled of alcohol.

Mr and Mrs Brough gave evidence via a video-link so that they did not have to face their daughter in court.

Mr Brough said: “As I came in the door, she came up to me, snarling at me and spat at me three times and she said she wished I was dead.

“I just felt like collapsing, I had no wish to live.”

Mrs Brough broke down in tears as she gave her evidence and said: “I just feel dreadful. It has not been easy to come here today.”

Brough, a former solicitor, told the court that she wasn’t drunk and she hadn’t spat at her parents.

She said they were having a discussion about the will and added: “There were certainly raised words all round. There was no spitting, there was no physical contact.

“I was not forcibly doing anything.”

She claimed that she was on medication which could make her speech slurred.

However, she pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer.

The court heard that she kicked the officer on the shin as she was being arrested.

On conviction, Sara O’Neill, prosecuting, said: “Her parents would like a restraining order. They don’t want to rule out contact forever but they want her to sort herself out.”

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports and Brough will next appear on Thursday, September 5 at 11.30am.