A former top Newcastle judge has revealed how a criminal conviction nearly destroyed her life.
Beatrice Bolton, 59, told Sky Tyne and Wear how she spiralled into severe depression and tried to take her own life after she was found guilty of failing to control her dog, Georgina, who injured the leg of her next-door neighbours' son.
Ms Bolton, who used to sit at Newcastle Crown Court, was the only woman judge on the criminal circuit in the North East, before retiring on medical grounds in January 2012.
Speaking for the first time about the downfall of her career, she told how the shame of her conviction triggered mental health problems.
She said the warning signs of her breakdown began after she was found guilty of the offence at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court in December 2010, when she notoriously walked out of court saying: “This is a f***ing travesty.”
She was fined £2,500 for the offence and was also ordered to pay compensation to the victim.
The court heard that Ms Bolton was involved in an on-going feud with her neighbours at the time, which continued after the case.
Now on the road to recovery, the former judge said she now wants to help others who suffer from mental health issues.
Speaking of her breakdown, she said: “After I was convicted, the top blew off the kettle. My personality disintegrated and I disintegrated. Looking back, that was the beginning of the nightmare.”
She continued: “I did attempt suicide the day after the dogs were taken, but at the time I had been robbed of everything.”
Further charges against Ms Bolton were dropped in January 2012. Those related to separate incidents at her home in Whitton, Rothbury, Northumberland.
Ms Bolton has now moved out of the area. She added: “I just want to get on with my life now.”
After the charges were dropped, a civil ruling was made which means that Ms Bolton must keep her dog on a lead in public.
Come back tomorrow for the second part of our exclusive interview: 'Why I was the victim'
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