A 48-year-old Lytham solicitor who took up residence in a wooden shed behind his ex-girlfriend home for months after they broke up has been found guilty of harassment by Blackpool Magistrates. The Court heard that James Gregson slept in the shed at night – and used her lawn as a toilet. The Court also heard that the solicitor previously hit his mother with a pan after losing his temper when Ronnie O’Sullivan missed a snooker shot on TV (This latter case is described below).
Former Lancashire Police legal department worker, James Gregson of Rossall Road and his 52-year-old ex-girlfriend Petrina Budden had been partners for four years before the relationship broke down, allegedly because of Gregson’s drinking. The situation worsened when Miss Budden took in a Spanish lodger.
Prosecutor, Pam Smith, said ‘After the relationship ended it took a year for her to kick Gregson out when issues with drink got too much. She felt traumatised and powerless and called the police and even after that he returned and continued to harass her.’
Steven Townley, defending, said, ‘This is a man, a solicitor, who has suffered a substantial fall from grace.’ Gregson is currently suspended indefinitely by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority after his previous assault conviction.
Blackpool Magistrates handed Gregson an 18-month community punishment with 30 rehabilitation days and he was ordered to complete a 12-month alcohol treatment programme. Additionally, he has to pay £754 in fines and costs and he was made the subject of a restraining order. He is now forbidden from contacting Miss Budden and must not enter her property on Ripon Road or its surroundings.
Gregson was no stranger to Blackpool Magistrates Court Court room. Previously he had been convicted of common assault, having hit his 71-year-old mother with a pan while drunk, injuring her.
During that appearance, Gregson pleaded not guilty, his defence was that he and his mother had been watching snooker on television and he had flung his hands up in disbelief – while still holding a pan from which he was eating dumplings – after Ronnie O’Sullivan played a bad shot.
He was nonetheless convicted and sentenced to an 18-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months. A restraining order was also imposed, preventing him contacting his mother directly or indirectly or entering her home for a year. Mr Gregson was further ordered to pay £200 compensation, £200 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. His appeal was subsequently rejected by Preston Crown Court.