A MEMBER of a feuding parish council has become the first in Cornwall to be disqualified from holding public office.
Ron Heath from St Mabyn has been banned for two years after a judge ruled he had bullied and shown disrespect to other members and had brought his parish council into disrepute.
It means Mr Heath, a former policeman, has been banned from standing for any council seat in England during the period of his disqualification.
It is the latest saga in the bitter acrimony that has torn St Mabyn Parish Council apart in recent years.
One former councillor described it as "a chamber of horrors'.'
Only this month, there was a resolution at the parish council meeting to disband it altogether in the interests of St Mabyn residents, and it was only lost by one vote.
It is the second time Mr Heath has been punished for his conduct towards fellow councillors and the parish clerk, Jenny Hoskin.
In May of last year, he was suspended for three months for bullying the parish clerk and not treating her with respect.
Mr Heath's disqualification by a judge overseeing a Standards for England tribunal at Bodmin Magistrates' Court resulted in his bad behaviour towards Mrs Hoskin and members who have since resigned, including then parish chairman, Les Wood, and date back as far as 2009.
Mr Heath's main ally on the council, current chairman Helen Barrett, is under investigation herself by Cornwall Council after she too was reported to the authority by other parish council members about her conduct.
Mrs Barrett has levelled a number of allegations against Mrs Hoskin over her ability to do the job of clerk, and said this week it had become impossible for the council to function properly.
"I feel the credibility of St Mabyn Parish Council is now in question", she said.
"I cannot condone Ron's actions because bullying is wrong and he overstepped the mark, but he has brought a lot of knowledge and insight to the council, and I can understand his frustration. I have no idea why I am under investigation, because I have never been rude to anyone on the council, and there is no question of me resigning as a councillor,'' said Mrs Barrett.
Neither Mr Heath nor the council wished to comment.