Ink attacker gets lifetime ban from contacting author victim

LIFE BAN: Sandra Botham, who has been given a lifetime restraining order, after assaulting author Val McDermid, below.
LIFE BAN: Sandra Botham, who has been given a lifetime restraining order, after assaulting author Val McDermid, below.
4
Have your say

PENSIONER Sandra Botham has been banned from contacting crime author Val McDermid, after hurling ink in her face.

The court was told the 65-year-old, of Ridley Terrace, Hendon, had objected to part of a book written in 1985 by Ms McDermid – A Suitable Job for a Woman – which, she said, referred to a gangland shooting of Botham’s husband in 1992.

Crime writer Val McDermid pictured at the Murray Library lecture theatre where she was giving a talk as part of the Sunderland University's year-long public lecture programme.

Crime writer Val McDermid pictured at the Murray Library lecture theatre where she was giving a talk as part of the Sunderland University's year-long public lecture programme.

She was convicted of common assault in her absence, after storming out of a trial at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court in April.

The mother-of-four angrily turned her back on magistrates during a hearing yesterday, after she was arrested for failing to attend court on July 31.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said Botham dressed in disguise, pulling on a blonde wig and hat and, on December 6 last year, threw ink into Ms McDermid’s mouth during the signing session at Sunderland University’s Murray Library.

Chris Wilson, defending, said Botham felt “abused” after reading the chapter and comments made on social networking site Twitter.

He said: “There were a number of others in the area who read it, and like any mother, she sought to protect her family from a number of allegations which she believed to be untrue and, in fact, inaccurate.

“After having sought advice from a number of law companies about her position and what she needed to do to seek redress, it quickly became clear that she did not have the financial means to take the process to correct the statement.

“For a significant period of time it weighed heavily on her mind and the position she found herself in, with this being bandied about the local area.

“With her emotions raised, she made the foolish decision to attend Sunderland University and confront the author of the book and made the erroneous decision at that time to throw ink at the author.”

Mr Wilson also claimed Botham, who suffers from osteoporosis, had received threats from people claiming to be fans of Ms McDermid, who did not attend court.

“It is not particularly pleasant what is written. It is history and many things should be left in history,” he added.

Chairman Craig Tuthill banned Botham from contacting Val McDermid for life and ordered she pay the author £50 compensation.

Speaking outside court, her oldest daughter Kelly, 42, said: “I think she (Ms McDermid) owes us compensation and an apology, not the other way round.”