A HAMPSHIRE councillor left facing an £86,000 legal bill after slapping a political rival has quit public life.

Tory politician Penny Jackman, 53, has resigned from two local authorities and has also stood down from the organisation which runs the New Forest National Park.

No explanation for her decision – or the timing of her announcement – has been given.

Last night New Forest District Council confirmed that Mrs Jackman had quit the authority as well as stepping down from Lymington and Pennington Town Council but gave no explanation for her departure.

Mrs Jackman, who represented Pennington, has also quit the New Forest National Park Authority.

Three years ago she was taken to court following an incident in 2012 when she slapped UKIP candidate Mike Beggs at a town council byelection count.

Mr Beggs, then 72, suffered extensive damage to his dentures after she suddenly lashed out during a row over his election leaflets.

At a hearing at Southampton County Court in 2015 Judge Peter Ralls refused to accept her plea of self defence. She was ordered to pay £14,000 in damages and £72,000 in costs.

In March last year it emerged that Mrs Jackman had been made bankrupt by Mr Beggs after paying the damages but not the costs.

Last night he said: “Her resignation is news to me.

“After she slapped me at the election count in 2012 I sought damages. After finally getting her to court in 2015 I was awarded damages and costs. The damages were paid in full in 2016 and as far as I was concerned that ended the matter.”

The successful candidate in the by-election was Tory Michael White, who went on become the town mayor.

He said: “I’m really sorry to see her go. Her heart was in the right place and she did a good job representing the people of Pennington.”

Cllr David Harrison, a member of the district council and the NPA, added: “It’s a shame.”


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