Court watch

You could be jailed , mum told A MOTHER-of-eight who failed to send three of her children to school has been warned she could face prison unless she gets them to their classrooms. She was ordered to pay £150 costs and urged to take it out of the childr

'You could be jailed', mum told

A MOTHER-of-eight who failed to send three of her children to school has been warned she could face prison unless she gets them to their classrooms.

She was ordered to pay £150 costs and urged to take it out of the children's pocket money to make them realise the seriousness of the matter.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Ely Magistrates that, as travellers, her children were not used to going to school.

Her two daughters did not like walking to school without their brother because they did not trust people "because of what is happening in the world today," she said.

She said they were embarrassed in front of their classmates because they were so far behind with their work.

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The three children were given part-time school timetables but one of the girls only managed to turn up for 15 out of 139 sessions in six months.

During the same period between June and December last year, her son went to 28 out of 101 sessions.

Over the six-month period another daughter attended 62 out of 155.

But the court heard that since the start of the new term in January, the children's attendance had improved and they were achieving 50 per cent-plus of their lessons.

Prosecuting for Cambridgeshire County Council, Simon Reeve told the court the children and their mother had attended pre-court meetings to discuss the situation and had been sent warning letters about their attendance records.

He said that although their attendance lately was not as good as the Government would like, "there had been an improvement".

Their mother told the court she had arranged lifts to and from school for the children to prevent them from walking.

"They should be at school - it's as simple as that," she told magistrates. "They don't need to stay at home to help me. But they seem to have bucked their ideas up a bit."

She said her younger children had been to nursery and were more used to going to school.

The mother was given a 12 month conditional discharge after she admitted three charges of failing to send her children to school.

Chairman of the magistrates, Tony Stygal, told her: "It is your responsibility to make sure your children go to school.

"I would suggest that you make the children pay the costs out of their pocket money to get across the seriousness of this.

"If you come back to court again you could go to prison."

Man found guilty of catalogue of crimes

LITTLEPORT man Steven Kilpatrick was found guilty of a catalogue of offences after a trial before Ely magistrates on Thursday.

Kilpatrick, 38, of Hempfield Place, was convicted of drink-driving, causing criminal damage, assaulting a police officer and driving without insurance or MoT.

He committed the drink-drive offence between July 17 and 18 last year in Littleport, giving a breath test reading almost double the legal limit.

Kilpatrick caused criminal damage to a laptop computer belonging to Paul Shepheard in Witchford on July 17, and assaulted PC Darren Goodwin on the same date.

He drove a Ford Escort car without insurance or an MoT, in Main Street at Littleport, between July 17 and 18.

Magistrates found him not guilty of stealing clothes and an antique coin collection belonging to Joanne Bean in Littleport on July 18.

Magistrates imposed an interim driving ban, and sentencing was adjourned until February 16, for a report to be prepared.

Unpaid work missed

A long-distance lorry driver, who failed to turn up for unpaid work laid down by the courts, is to be resentenced.

Paul Fuller, 43, told Ely Magistrates that driving abroad often made it impossible for him to comply with his community punishment order.

But he insisted he always notified the probation service when he was unable to attend and sent lorry tachograph readings to support his absence.

Fuller, of Orchard Estate, Little Downham, had completed 64 hours of the work but still had 96 hours left, the court heard on Tuesday.

The order was imposed after he had been found guilty of stealing and he admitted failing to comply with it on July 12.

The court heard that there had been previous breaches of the order and a court had made it clear in the past that his work could not be used as an excuse.

Fuller told the court: "I am not trying to avoid this. I am doing my best. I get there when I can and do a good day's work."

Chairman of the magistrates, Sue Thompson, urged Fuller to complete as many hours as possible while the court adjourned the case until February 9 when he will appear again for resentencing.

Kidnap trial hears of 'harass' ordeal

A SUTTON woman charged with kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and supplying her with cannabis has suffered a campaign of harassment since being arrested.

Sandra Scrivener's car had been written-off by vandals and she had suffered other acts of vandalism, Ely magistrates were told on Thursday.

The harassment had preyed on the 27-year-old's mind, and she had suffered from a mystery ailment that causes her disabling pain.

Those were the factors that stopped Scrivener attending for community work on two occasions at the end of last year, her solicitor Jeremy Kendall told the court.

Scrivener, of Brook House, Mepal Road, has denied abducting the 14-year-old in Sutton on November 7. She had not indicated a plea to allegations of supplying the child with cannabis, or allowing her home to be used for the smoking of cannabis.

Scrivener was ordered to carry out an extra 10 hours of unpaid community work on the 100-hour order she was given last October for an offence of theft.

"We recognise that you have been through a difficult period following your arrest," said magistrates chairman Alan Williams. "But a 100-hour order is a high tariff, and we feel it would be wrong not to mark your failure to communicate with the probation service."

Magistrates had been asked to commit Scrivener to Cambridge Crown Court on Thursday, but adjourned the hearing until March 2, after being told she had been bailed to Cambridge police station on February 22, in relation to other alleged offences.

Conditions of her bail say she must live at her home address and not contact her alleged victim or a 15-year-old girl.

Driver loses licence fight

ELY barber Jason Milan, who crashed a car into a ditch and then fled the scene, has lost his fight to keep his driving licence.

The 23-year-old admitted having no insurance on the day of the accident but asked magistrates not to endorse his licence because he had believed he had cover.

However, on Thursday, Ely magistrates threw out his application, and fined him £100 with £150 costs, and put six points on his licence.

Because Milan only passed his driving test in 2004 he was a probationary driver, so his licence will be revoked by DVLA and he must take his driving test again.

The car was in water up to its windows when police arrived at the crash scene at Whitebridge Farm, in Littleport, on July 24 last year, said prosecutor Flynn Jennings.

About an hour later, Milan turned up and said he owned the car and had been driving. He told officers he had left the scene because he had no insurance.

Milan, of Black Bank Road, Little Downham, had been in the process of buying the Ford Escort from David Griffin, who was staying at his parents' bed-and-breakfast, he told the court.

"He said the car had fully comprehensive insurance, so I thought I could drive it," he said. At the time of the crash he had been recovering from "quite a bad" drug problem, and had panicked and left the car.

Mr Griffin told the court he had mistakenly told Milan that he was insured to drive but he later discovered the policy only provided third party cover.

Woman drove 'all over the road'

DRUNK driver Jeanette Harwood was seen snaking across the road in her car and mounting the kerb.

Police were alerted by a witness who saw Harwood, 56, "driving all over the road" three days before Christmas in Ely's Lynn Road.

Officers found her Vauxhall Corsa stopped in Nutholt Lane on the morning of December 22 with the engine running and smelt alcohol on Harwood's breath.

A breath test revealed 114 microgrammes of alcohol to 100 millilitres of breath.

Harwood, of Washington Close, Littleport told officers in an interview that she had drunk a bottle of red wine at around midnight the night before and had not realised she was over the limit.

On Tuesday she appeared before Ely Magistrates Court where she admitted driving with excess alcohol.

A further charge of driving without due care and attention was withdrawn.

Mitigating, David Shipman told the court: "She had nothing to drink that day and, as so often happens, was totally unaware of the effect a drink the night before could have on her.

"She is very ashamed of what has happened. She will face considerable hardship living where she does and not being able to drive."

Harwood, who had a clean driving licence, was banned from driving for 28 months, offered a drink-driver rehabilitation course and fined £220 with £35 costs.

Seeding fine reduced to £150

US serviceman William Baccus Jnr had his speeding fine cut by Ely magistrates after complaining he was fined more than a UK citizen facing the same charge.

In December, Baccus, 23, admitted driving at 93mph in a 70mph limit, and was fined £270 with £35 costs.

He had four points endorsed on his driving record.

The legal office from RAF Mildenhall wrote to the magistrate, claiming that if Baccus had held a UK licence, he would have been given a £60 fixed penalty.

Agreeing to reduce the fine to £150, presiding magistrate Alan Williams said: "No account seems to have been made for his guilty plea."

He said the fine was still higher than a fixed penalty "not because he was a US serviceman, but simply because of the very high speed".

Baccus must still pay £35 costs and keep the four points.