Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Ex-MP guilty of threatening words

Ex-MP Helen Clark
Helen Clark, of Peteroborough, had denied using threatening words

A former Labour MP from Cambridgeshire has been given a conditional discharge after being convicted of using threatening words and behaviour.

Helen Clark, who represented Peterborough between 1997 and 2005, was convicted after a trial at Peterborough Magistrates' Court.

But the 54-year-old, who had denied any offence, was found not guilty of being drunk and disorderly in a hotel bar.

She said her outburst had been an "expression of anger", not aggression.

The events took place in the Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough, in June 2008.

The court was told Clark became angry when a member of staff refused to give her more alcohol.

Mrs Clark was clearly out of control
District Judge Nicholas Leigh-Smith

The former politician had been drinking wine on a Sunday afternoon and "went ballistic" when a Portuguese barmaid would not serve her, magistrates heard.

Part of the incident was recorded on a mobile phone camera by a barmaid.

The footage was played to the court and Clark was heard to swear and then seen to cry and scream while holding her head in her hands.

In the footage she shouted: "I have been humiliated here. Of course I have. Of course I have. Don't you understand?"

She told the court: "I was expressing anger at the way I had been treated. There is no sense to me... that the anger would be translated as a threat. I just wanted answers, I wanted to know why."

District Judge Nicholas Leigh-Smith said prosecutors had not proved Clark was drunk and disorderly.

But he said she had had a "preoccupation with self and self-image".

"I am satisfied the behaviour on the whole was threatening and abusive. It was certainly disorderly. Mrs Clark was clearly out of control."

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