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Councillor convicted of harassing neighbour after claims he had meetings in a hot tub mid-lockdown

A Nottinghamshire councilor has been convicted of harassing his two ex-neighbors after they collided during lockdown.

Ashfield District Council deputy leader Tom Hollis is said to have held meetings with other councilors in a hot tub in his backyard during the pandemic.

The councilor has vowed to appeal the harassment convictions as he leaves court today.

He is said to have played music at council meetings, which were reportedly held from morning to night with varying numbers of people when Britain first shut down at national level in May 2020.

Nottingham Magistrates Court heard the claim came from neighbor Shannon Jones-Golding. She called 101 for advice from the police on Covid measures and asked ‘if this was allowed’.

Mr Hollis, 28, has always maintained that he was a key figure and that the police had told Ms Jones-Golding that he was not doing anything wrong.

Judge Leo Pyle told Hollis, who was sitting quietly in court when the sentences were handed down, that he found his claim “ridiculous and frustrating.”

Councilor Tom Hollis, deputy leader of the Ashfield District Council, was convicted of harassing two of his neighbors, including pretending someone had chased him with a knife

Councilor Tom Hollis, deputy leader of the Ashfield District Council, was convicted of harassing two of his neighbors, including pretending someone had chased him with a knife

The independent councilor is said to have held meetings in his hot tub during the pandemic, with neighbor Shannon Jones-Golding alerting police

The independent councilor is said to have held meetings in his hot tub during the pandemic, with neighbor Shannon Jones-Golding alerting police

The independent councilor is said to have held meetings in his hot tub during the pandemic, with neighbor Shannon Jones-Golding alerting police

The judge found that Mr Hollis was harassing neighbors as tempers flared over their two-meter-high fence during the closure.

On one occasion officers ran to Windmill Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield, where Hollis lived next door to Mrs Golding and her husband, after reports that a “neighbor came to him (Hollis) with a knife.”

They found the alderman calm and composed. Police then viewed video footage taken by the neighbor – footage of Mr Hollis arguing over the fence and events at the front of his property that showed him on the phone with police.

In that phone call, he described a five-foot knife. Police did not see a knife in the house, but there was also no detailed search for a knife.

Hollis almost had Mrs. Jones-Golding’s husband arrested for alleged possession and threats with a knife.

The images of Mrs. Jones-Golding proved otherwise.

Prosecutor Mark Fielding accused Hollis of calling 999 and “playing” as if being chased by the male victim with a knife.

Hollis, pleading innocent, would have run into his house, beeping, almost crying and screaming that he was being “followed” and “don’t come at me with that.”

Mr Hollis denied holding meetings in his hot tub and said he would appeal the convictions

Mr Hollis denied holding meetings in his hot tub and said he would appeal the convictions

Mr Hollis denied holding meetings in his hot tub and said he would appeal the convictions

While in the safety of his home, he continued with the 999 call and made it clear that the male victim was chasing him with a knife. The police arrived and officers proceeded to arrest Mr Golding for possession and threatening with a knife.

But Ms Jones-Golding showed officers the film she had made and police realized this was a “false complaint,” Mr Fielding said at the start of the trial.

The judge concluded that the indictment involving Ms. Jones-Golding included numerous episodes in this “sad case.”

The court heard Mr Hollis also say to her, “I know it was you who anonymously called the police. I heard your voice. I have contacts with the police.’

He added that he had “made the rules” and said she would be “ready to intimidate a key employee.”

The defendant’s behavior amounted to harassment from her – citing the towing of a caravan in the driveway, the arrival of the police to the 999 call about the ‘knife incident’.

The judge said: ‘This was conduct on at least two occasions that amounted to intimidation of this lady.

“It clearly caused her alarm and distress. It was oppressive and presumptuous.’

Golding, 31, was called a “pedophile” by Hollis before making the fake 999 call. The couple’s harassment led the Goldings, who have two children, to sell their house and move.

Judge Pyle said ‘This young man’ [Mr Golding] was fortunately not arrested on a charge of threat with a knife. It was another episode of persistent behavior that caused alarm and distress. This charge has been proven criminally.’

Hollis said he would appeal two convictions for harassment when he spoke to Nottinghamshire Live shortly after the convictions.

He has been released on bail to return to court for sentencing on October 13 at 10 a.m. Hollis stressed that he never held council meetings in his backyard hot tub.

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