'He has lost everything' - wife of former councillor David Pope says his political career and reputation have been ruined
PUBLISHED: 11:58 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:58 10 December 2019
The wife of long-standing councillor David Pope has spoken of her feelings after her husband lost his political career, his reputation and his council seat.
"I just hope the people that have ruined my husband's good name and character can live with their guilt," said Rosemarie, his wife of 26 years.
She said: "He has had his life taken away from him".
His daughter Alison said: "My dad stood up for the people and would ask what no one else would."
Pope, 75, pleaded guilty at King's Lynn magistrates to permitting a false signature on an election nomination paper.
His wife described the father-of-two, who had been on West Norfolk council for 16 years, as someone whose character has been wrongly defamed.
Mrs Pope, 73, said: "He was a voice for everyone. "People would confide in him because they knew that they could trust him.
"Honesty, loyalty and putting his family first are what matters the most to him.
"He is not a fraud. This was only a nomination paper not a vote.
"It is terrible that they have done this to his character."
King's Lynn magistrates heard Mr Pope had used an alternative signature because a man named on the paper was not at home so his son signed on his behalf.
He was fined £3,300.
It was his first time standing as an independent, after having been a Conservative councillor for 15 years before being de-selected.
He won the Upwell and Delph ward with 758 votes in May.
He had also been a parish councillor for 20 years.
"David has had his life taken away from him - he has lost everything now," Mrs Pope said.
"He still goes in his office at home everyday as that is all he knows - it is a routine for him after he retired five years ago.
"This was his passion - he would speak up about things and not hold back.
"Yes, he was guilty of letting this person sign the paper but he is not guilty of signing it himself."
Mrs Pope said letters of support have been sent to their home in the past two weeks.
She added: "He's got to realise I am standing up for him."
LETTERS OF SUPPORT FROM LOCAL BUSINESS PEOPLE
Decorator Neil Drewery wrote: I am writing this letter in the hope that it will help you see what kind of person David Pope is despite the offence that has led us to this point.
I have known David as a customer and friend, for over 30 years now and in that time I have seen many aspects of his personality. He is intelligent, trustworthy, extremely kind hearted, dependable, understanding helpful and always willing to lend a hand not only to myself but to others too.
He is one of the most thoughtful, kindest and un-selfish people I know and is always ready to go the extra mile to help others. He has always been very well regarded and respected by the people of our villages.
I know for sure there is absolutely no way David would let his community and peers down under no circumstances whatsoever, the offence was a very unfortunate error in which other people have not been completely honest hence this has lad to David's character being tarnished and this should never have happened.
I sincerely hope the person who signed the nomination paper then said he couldn't remember doing it can live with his guilt for ruining David's passion for the council, this was his life.
Alyson Saunders, a dog groomer, wrote: I have known Mr David Pope in his capacity as my local councillor and parish council for approximately 15 years.
I have always found David to be an extremely upstanding honest and trustworthy person.
I have on several occasions gone to David with questions and concerns on matters relating to a variety of problems.
David has been an asset to our villages, often driving around making sure he kept up with what was happening within the villages.
I find what has happened to David very said, and I do not believe that he would ever do anything unlawful.
Losing David Pope as our local representative is a great loss to the community.
Lesley Kennedy, family friend, wrote: I have known David Pope for 20 years. His job as a councillor always came first; he was dedicated to his work in the community. I read the article and immediately felt he had been 'stitched up big time'.
There is no way David would have been dishonest, as the article implied. Being a councillor was David's life, he would not knowingly get involved in any wrong doing.
I feel David has suffered huge injustice and has been unfairly treated.