Local politician's threat to shoot man

A POLITICIAN said he threatened to shoot a parish councillor after he was severely provoked by a relentless stream of venomous criticism.

By RICHARD CORNWELL Felixstowe editor

richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk>

TRIMLEY: A politician said he threatened to shoot a parish councillor after he was severely provoked by a relentless stream of venomous criticism.

Felixstowe councillor John Goodwin said Ian Cowan had also called his wife “stupid” and had “got under my skin”.

He lost his temper at a public meeting and told Mr Cowan: “If I had a gun I would shoot you”.

Yesterday, the county council's hearings sub committee decided Mr Goodwin had breached the authority's code of conduct and brought his role as a councillor into disrepute by failing to treat Mr Cowan with respect.

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The committee said no degree of provocation could justify the behaviour, which they censured as unacceptable.

He was ordered to write an unreserved apology to Mr Cowan and undertake training to help him deal with similar situations in the future, but was not barred from office. He declined to comment on the sanctions.

Last night Mr Cowan said: “It's just a slap on the wrist. The whole reason I complained was to have an example made so people could criticise councillors without being threatened with violence.”

County monitoring officer Eric Whitfield told the hearing Mr Goodwin made his threat deliberately in a measured tone and it was “ill-judged, unacceptable and inappropriate”.

Mr Goodwin said his comment was not pre-meditated. He had lost his temper after Mr Cowan had “sneered” at him during the meeting of Trimley St Martin Parish Council in March last year.

Previously, Mr Cowan had sent him a “relentless stream of venomous emails”, including calling his wife Angel , mayor of Felixstowe, “stupid”.

“I was severely provoked. It does become hard to bear. On the night in question I just snapped,” said Mr Goodwin.

“I should not have done so - I should have risen above it. I let myself down and the council. I apologise.

“He was offensive to my wife and I object to that intensely. I am guilty. It was totally wrong.”