A Conservative Havering councillor has appeared in court to deny harassing a female independent councillor.

Michael Deon Burton, 66, of Lower Mardyke Avenue in Rainham, attended Barkingside Magistrates' Court today (October 4) charged with harassing Natasha Summers.

Both councillors represent South Hornchurch ward.

Cllr Deon Burton attended the court to answer a charge of “harassment without violence” against Cllr Summers.

He is charged with “pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to the harassment of Ms Natasha Summers, and which you knew or ought to have known amounted to harassment of her" between January 26 and June 14 this year.

He pleaded not guilty and was told he would stand trial on December 23 at Romford Magistrates’ Court.

He has been released on unconditional bail.

The charge, brought under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison or an unlimited fine.