Councillor involved in doorstep scuffle

By Roddy AshworthA COMPLAINT has been made to police after an early morning doorstep scuffle between a leading councillor and a member of the public.

By Roddy Ashworth

A COMPLAINT has been made to police after an early morning doorstep scuffle between a leading councillor and a member of the public.

Terry Sutton, a cabinet member of Colchester Borough Council, was woken by his wife at 5.45am yesterday after she answered the telephone to a man who claimed it was an “emergency”.

The caller was David Budd, a dog owner who is currently in dispute with the council over noise, who wanted to complain about the owner of an adjacent property.

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Mr Sutton refused to take the call, given the time when it was made, and put the phone down.

However, Mr Budd continued calling the number until Mr Sutton eventually disconnected the telephone from the socket.

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Ten minutes later Mr Budd arrived at Mr Sutton's home in Mersea Road, Colchester, and demanded he listen to his complaint.

The borough councillor, who was in his nightclothes, refused his request and a scuffle broke out as he attempted to escort Mr Budd from his property.

Mr Sutton said he had been assisting Mr Budd over the past few months in his role as the council's environment portfolio holder, as a court case progressed against him over his noisy dogs, but added he had not been prepared to discuss his complaint at that hour of the morning.

“He kept on phoning me until I eventually pulled the plug. Ten minutes later I noticed him coming down my driveway,” said Mr Sutton.

“I opened my front door and challenged him to remove himself from my property. He was ranting and raving, insisting I listen to him.

“I backed him up to the road. My wife was concerned, so she dialled 999. He came back down the drive and I told him to lose himself. I did not swear. I can only assume is was to do with his dogs, but I wouldn't listen to him.”

Mr Budd, of North Lane, Marks Tey, claimed to police that Mr Sutton had assaulted him by manhandling him from his property.

He had telephoned Mr Sutton because he had lit a bonfire at 4.55am that morning and a dispute with a neighbour had followed.

Mr Budd claimed the neighbour had woken his dogs and they had been making a noise.

“I know it was early, but it was important. I phoned him up. I said 'Please listen - if you don't, I am coming round your house',” he said.

“I got in the car and drove round. As I rang on the doorbell, he came running out. He grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let me go.

“I went round there for help. I can't understand it. Why are the council allowing people to provoke me? I went round there in desperation and all I got was a madman.”

Mr Sutton said he had made a complaint of harassment against Mr Budd to the police, while Mr Budd said he had also made a complaint of assault to the police.

A spokesman for Colchester police said: “We received a complaint from a man alleging he was assaulted on another man's doorstep in Mersea Road.

“The complaint came in at 6.23am and the man claimed the assault happened at 6.10am.

“We will be taking a statement from the complainant later today and interviewing the other man in due course.”

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