A PARKS chief could be punished after refusing to apologise for calling another councillor a t*****r in a row over dog leads.

Adur district councillor Emma Evans used the insult against Lancing parish councillor Geoff Patmore after he criticised her in the wake of a dog attack in Shoreham.

After a dog owner wrote on Facebook that her husband had been bitten by a dog in Buckingham Park, Cllr Patmore asked Cllr Evans why the council was not enforcing rules instructing owners to keep dogs on leads.

But parks chief Cllr Evans likened the Lancing councillor “a badly behaved child” and called him a “t*****r”.

“Even when sat at my dying dad’s bedside you didn’t let up,” she wrote.

“You’re a t*****r and you know I don’t respond to your constant posts tagging me because it’s like giving attention to badly-behaved child.”

Now the Conservative councillor faces punishment because Cllr Patmore claimed she had breached council rules by not treating him with respect.

Cllr Evans told district council lawyer Louise Mathie she was unsure why she had responded to the parish councillor’s comment.

But Cllr Evans refused to apologise publicly and said Cllr Patmore “could be obsessive” and sometimes tagged her in conversations twice a day.

Despite the parks chief’s circumstances – as she cared for her dying father – Ms Mathie said Cllr Evans had breached the code of conduct.

Three fellow councillors spoke out in defence of Cllr Evans, including council leader Neil Parkin. He said in a witness statement Cllr Patmore had “trolled” him four years ago, eventually leading to him giving up Facebook.

“I had him removed from some sites and last week had him removed for the second time from Southwick Together group,” he said.

Independent councillor Joss Loader said Cllr Evans’s “t*****r” remark was “not made in isolation”. “As a former district councillor and serving parish councillor, I would have anticipated that Cllr Patmore would have a working knowledge of the law,” she said. “Many people know dogs can be exercised off their leads in Buckingham Park, providing that they are under control.

“The responsibility in this case was fairly and squarely with the dog owner.

“The inference that Adur District Council, and by virtue of her portfolio Cllr Evans, were in some way responsible was in my opinion unfair.

“As a parish councillor, Cllr Patmore is also expected to adhere to the spirit of a code of conduct. He is obliged to show Cllr Evans respect.”

Conservative councillor Carol Albury even claimed Cllr Evans used the word “t*****r” in a literal sense, writing: “Throughout this long thread on Facebook comments were tossed back and forth. I believe this to be a remark made to actually describe the way this whole thread had been conducted.

“One who tosses or throws something.”