The dramatic collapse of the court case against Julie Bull has lifted the cloud that has followed her during a five-year ordeal. Julie’s world came crashing down in 2016, just days after she took on the highest civic role the district has to offer.
The dramatic collapse of the court case against Julie Bull has lifted the cloud that has followed her during a five-year ordeal.
Julie’s world came crashing down in 2016, just days after she took on the highest civic role the district has to offer.
The former Cheadle Town Mayor had been elected Chair of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council prior to the fateful planning meeting that month which would see her political role – and personal reputation – smeared by allegations of fraud.
Claims Julie had failed to declare a pecuniary interest before voting on a planning application saw her charged with fraud.
Five years later, the case finally came before a judge, who exonerated Julie, slammed the process that had forced her to live with the allegations for such a long time, and urged her to ‘power forward’ now that she is free to finally rebuild her life.
At a hearing on July 5, Judge David Fletcher said: “So the first thing – the legal bit – is this, that I formally find you not guilty of the offence with which you were charged.
“You have my sympathy. I hope that things will improve and I hope that your life gets back on track as a result of you being able to put this whole thing behind you.
“That will be very much a matter for you and the way in which you approach this and I rather think that you are a woman who, having thought about it and when you are in a quiet moment, are going to be in a position to power forward as opposed to constantly harking back to what might or might not have been.
“The fact is you are where you are and it is for you now to make the best of a situation in which you find yourself, and in that regard, I wish you every amount of goodwill and all the luck in the world as far as that is concerned.”
After her initial arrest, charges of fraud were brought against Julie, who saw her reputation trashed and was shunned by people she knew because of the allegations.
The court case halted more than 25 years of volunteering as a town councillor, as well as many years serving as an elected member of SMDC.
Julie was the instigator of Cheadle’s Party in the Park, running the first ever event single-handedly and over the years has supported hundreds of community groups, town and village events, fund-raisers, sporting events and fetes.
Her public role – which included kick-starting the £60,000 Help Harry fund-raising appeal and the Cheadle Hospital Save Our Beds campaign – came to an end when the charges were brought and Julie’s long-running involvement and commitment to the community also came to an early end.
Julie said: “Everyone who knows anything at all about council rules – councillors, officers and press – all knew that I didn’t have a duty to declare.
“However, councillors, legal officers and leaders – no one bothered to make that clear and this resulted in a malicious prosecution one week before the elections.
“Being a resourceful person, I shifted my attention to investing in my future instead of continually working voluntarily for the community I loved so much.
“The world was a miserable place when people shunned me because of the case. Possibly some of that was paranoia, but it was not great at the time.
“Justice has finally been done. The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against me, I wasn’t dishonest, I didn’t have a duty to disclose property nearby etc.”
Now though, Julie is intent on rebuilding her life and pursuing a new direction after launching her own businesses.
She said: “I’m concentrating on the success of my businesses and continuing to invest in my future.
“My family always used to say if I put as much effort into my investments as I did into my council work, I would be a millionaire – so here goes!
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me during the last five years. All the kind words from everyone helped me get through the whole sorry saga. It was those small acts of kindness that kept me going.
“I am grateful for Judge Fletcher and the CPS for their kind words, which will hopefully help me rebuild my life after the dreadful ordeal of being wrongly accused.”
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