No apology for grandmother

Scarborough Councillors.'Cllr. Geoff Evans - Eastfield ( Lib Dems).
Scarborough Councillors.'Cllr. Geoff Evans - Eastfield ( Lib Dems).

A Scarborough councillor is yet to apologise almost 18 months on from calling a 72-year-old grandmother ‘a stupid old cow’ when she called him to ask why her council tax bill had gone up.

Margaret Lister wanted to know why an item on her bill has gone up 100 per cent since the previous year and rang up Councillor Geoff Evans in April 2012.

She said Cllr Evans, 65, should know why because he was her local councillor.

But Councillor Evans snapped “You’re a stupid old cow you” and hung up on Margaret - who was left staring into the receiver in shock.

Council solicitor Mark Robinson, who was asked to investigate, later sat Councillor Evans down in his office at Scarborough Town Hall.

Mr Robinson said in his report: “As I started to explain the complaint Councillor Evans started shouting at me.

“He said the complaint was rubbish and lies. At this point, he stood up and began pointing and continued to shout.”

Councillor Evans was ordered to make a written apology by the Standards Committee but has so far refused and has not even said sorry.

Mrs Lister said of the incident: “He raised his voice and said ‘You’re a stupid old cow you’ and slammed the phone down on me.”

Admitting he used the offending words, Councillor Evans said: “She got personal about me and that’s what led to the response.”

He said he had refused to apologise because he had not been able to put his side of the story to the Standards Committee “which is taking away my human rights”.

He added: “Mrs Lister was wrong in what she said and if she had said sorry first I would have apologised straightaway.”

Scarborough Council has issued new politeness guidelines to staff following the incident – including not mocking people because of their age.

Councillors Evan said: “They have all these notices in the town hall telling the public not to shout at the staff but it does not apply to councillors. It is hypocrisy.”

But the mother of two with two grandchildren, branded Councillor Evans a disgrace to his office.

Mrs Lister, of Eastfield, Scarborough, said: “I’m disgusted. I think I even voted for him but I certainly won’t be doing that again.

“All I wanted was an apology and I would have accepted it. I don’t think that’s the way to go around treating people who voted for you.

“He is a nasty man.”

Standards Committee chairman Norman Murphy said: “It is no way to speak to a woman of 72 and all he has to do is say sorry.”

Cllr Evans was told to apologise to Mrs Lister by August 19 this year but failed to do so.