Published: 14:25, 22 September 2021
| Updated: 15:09, 22 September 2021
Fergus Wilson's run ins with Ashford council staff recounted in court were appalling.
A judge was told of vile abuse dished out by the property mogul, which included telling staff to kill themselves, bombarding the leader with letters and repeatedly calling for a solicitor to be sacked while making comments about her weight.
The allegations were not at all pleasant and at first, fleetingly, I was shocked.
It didn't sound like the eccentric figure I'd battled with over the phone and via email, and occasionally the post, over the years.
But the more I read the more I related.
I'd always seen our relationship as so sour it was funny - a joke we were both in on.
He'd call me all the names under the sun and I'd laugh, share with friends and sometimes fire off a sarcastic reply.
"You truly are a bag of s***!" Hahaha.
"You will never amount to anything!" What a wheeze.
"You really are a pain in the a*** and a disgrace to journalism." Who else but Fergus?
In my head I'd turned him into a character, a sort of expletive-spouting Toad of Toad Hall.
As I read about the High Court case part of me thought 'What do you expect? It's Fergus Wilson!'
But, of course, that should never make it acceptable and I'm glad Ashford council had the wherewithal to act.
As Fergus himself had hinted at in his 2017 missive 'bone idle', I hadn't had the minerals.
"You really should top yourself!" he wrote.
"If you have nt [sic] got the balls try a one way ticket to Dignitas!"
The conclusion a starting escalation of a relatively reasonable email about me "sneaking home" from a court case I had not even covered.
I was a "bone idle skiver", whereas he used to work "37 hours a day, 10 days a week".
"Thank you for your email. Your advice is always valued," came my reply.
"However hard I try, regrettably I will never be able to work 37 hours a day, 10 days a week. However, I congratulate you on achieving what to many may at first seem impossible. Breaking the rules of time and space is something you should be proud of.
"I have no plans for suicide, but thank you for your concern."
Oh how we laughed! But it wasn't 'we' was it? It was me, laughing like a mad man as the emailed blows rained down.
In my defence it is little wonder I found some of the abuse funny.
'CURRIED EDWARD' (2017) read: "You would not punch a man who wears glasses would you? Well no but I will make an exception in the case of Ed McConnell. He needs his balls curried and stuck up his Vinderloo!"
From 2019: "Fergus is riding horse [sic] on Sunday!
"If the horse does nit [sic] win it will be sold!"
'BORIS FOR FIVE YEARS!' (2020) was just a picture of him giving a thumbs up.
'Verbal Punch Up' was a collection of photos of politicians in boxing gloves.
He enjoys the sport and used to compete, which explains the numerous emails from 2016/17 in which he repeatedly offered me £10,000 to last three bare-knuckle rounds with him.
I have created a folder in my inbox which contains 147 emails, although this obviously cannot include the physical gifts.
He once sent me a jiffy bag packed with keyrings some showing him in a boxing pose and others with his name emblazoned across a jar of Marmite.
Also included was a razor - a reference to my apparently untidy facial hair which saw him dub me "the bearded wonder".
On another occasion he sent a book by the Secret Barrister - a good read but one which I had already enjoyed. He knew me too well...
These presents were strange for many reasons, but mainly because they were almost nice gestures.
Sometimes Fergus could be fun-loving and even humorous.
In amongst the spurts of hot, boiling rage was a jolly fellow.
He'd also send unsolicited pictures of his wife, Judith, his employees and his solicitor.
In 2017 I moved to another part of the company, 'Where have you gone?' and 'What is your new address?' followed.
Last year communications dried up - as they intermittently had during our relationship.
Sometimes I'd stop and wonder why he'd ceased his abuse and this would often be followed by a sudden, unexpected flurry of correspondence. Maybe he was telepathic?
He also didn't really feature in the news in 2020, maybe people had bigger things to worry about or maybe he had finally opted for a quiet retirement?
Perhaps sensing one last bout the "lippy boy" in me awoke - I decided to include Fergus in a tongue-in-cheek 'Heroes and Villains' of the year piece.
He'd won the villain category in 2019 but due to his absence from the headlines in 2020 I included him as a 'hero', congratulating him on staying out of trouble.
A day later an email entitled 'ne'er do well!' landed in my inbox. He was back.
"Give it up old son! You are never going to make a success of life! You are a left-wing failure!"