A councillor has sparked fury after suggesting an alleged Tyneside sex attack victim was too ugly to be targeted.
Philip Drury, who held a shadow cabinet leader’s post at East Hampshire District Council, posted a comment on Facebook about Newcastle College student Serena Bowes.
The 21-year-old, who waived her right to anonymity, alleged that she was sexually assaulted in an Italian nightclub when on a college trip but Italian police said they believe she may have made the attack up.
She is currently facing extradition to Italy to face false allegation charges and could serve up to 12 years in an Italian prison if she is convicted of the charge.
On a Facebook thread about her case, Coun Drury wrote: “Not sure anyone would want to even think about it looking at her lol.”
He has now stepped down from his political party citing work pressures but remains a councillor, sitting as an independent.
Coun Drury was blasted by other Facebook users who branded his words as “vile” and “heartless”.
A council inquiry found that no action would be taken against him as he was not acting in his capacity as a councillor when he posted the offensive comment.
The fashion student had been on a trip to Florence last year as part of her course.
She had visited a nightclub in the city where she said the alleged attack took place.
Coun Drury defended his behaviour, saying:
“I was excessively tired and was working nights. I had just come back from an excessive Chinese business trip – I was tired.
“I will remain on the council. That is all I want to say until I release a press release.”
An East Hampshire District Council spokesman said:
“The council was appalled by the comments made by Coun Drury and launched an independent disciplinary investigation.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 05 Jan 2015