Ex-councillor cleared of assault case

Former Hemsworth town councillor John Richardson has been found not guilty of assaulting a teenage girl and her dad in a rented house.

Sunday, 1st June 2014, 7:00 am
Court snatch: Pontefract magistrates court. Hemsworth town councillor Mr John Richardson, appearing before the court on a number of charges relating to counterfeit goods. h7096a148

Mr Richardson, a property landlord, allegedly barged his way past a teenage girl, causing her to bang her head on a door frame. It was claimed he also grabbed her dad by the “scruff of his jumper” in a dispute over money and repairs in November last year.

The teenage girl and her father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed the long-serving former councillor assaulted them at a property within the Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express circulation area. But Mr Richardson, 72, dismissed the allegations as “entirely fabricated”.

Mr Richardson, of Newall Crescent, Fitzwilliam, denied two charges of common assault.

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A trial at Wakefield and Pontefract Magistrates’ Court heard how the teenager answered the door to Mr Richardson, who asked if her dad was in.

She said: “He barged past me, causing me to bang my head into the back of the door frame. It was then alleged he grabbed her dad by his clothing and demanded money.

But Mr Richardson said he called to check on the property, not about the rent.

He said he went in after becoming concerned about problems with the fire. He denied any assault, saying he was disabled and had a problem with his shoulder, which locked.

He said he left after the dad tried to goad him into hitting him. But he added: “If I could have sent a punch, I would have sent one but unfortunately my arm wouldn’t let me.”

A bench of magistrates cleared Mr Richardson after less than 20 minutes of deliberation.