A MAN from Middlewich has denied he intended to cause distress or anxiety to a town councillor when he questioned her ability to do the job properly.

Thomas Casserley, of Nightingale Close, is standing trial at Chester Crown Court after denying the sole charge against him.

The 49-year-old admits to sending an e-mail to Victoria Dominguez-Perez, a Middlewich Town councillor on June 3, 2020.

Casserley, who is representing himself during the trial, referenced the councillor’s disability in the e-mail, but claims he did so only to question her suitability for the role.

A complaint was made to the police about the e-mail, and he was subsequently interviewed.

During the course of that interview, he said to officers how Middlewich was a town that had many problems that needed addressing and questioned whether Cllr Perez was up to the job.

He said: “Clearly Vicky has disabilities.

“Is she able to do the job?

“It isn’t just because she has a disability. David Blunkett was blind, but he was the Home Secretary and was able to do the job.

“I think it’s important to be able to hold people in public office to account.

“I can understand what I said made her cry, but my intention was not to put her on the spot.

“I was questioning her suitability to do the role.

“Councillors are in a position of responsibility which comes with a degree of accountability.”

Casserley, who was reminded to stick to the facts of the case by Judge Steven Everett on several occasions, said the town council’s reputation had been 'in the gutter'.

“If you look at Middlewich Town Council at the moment, its reputation is in the gutter,” he said during the police interview.

“The way I see it is, I can go away to the town council and ask what reasonable adjustments are being made (to help Cllr Perez with her disability).

“It is not in dispute that I sent the e-mail on June 3.”

When recalling being spoken to by officers in his own home, Casserley said he believed the complaint made about him was politically motivated.

The trial continues.