Jail birth mother's appeal fails

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A WOMAN who gave birth to a girl in prison after being jailed for theft and deception failed yesterday to win her freedom in the Court of Appeal.

Three senior judges ruled that the nine-month sentence for Diane Dixon, a civil servant of Bedlington, Northumberland, whose daughter, Alana, was born on Sunday, was not excessive or harsh.

Dixon was 10 days overdue when jailed at Newcastle Crown Court last Thursday for stealing pounds 28,000 from her employers and giving it to herboyfriend.

Lord Justice Kennedy, with Mr Justice Turner and Mr Justice Brian Smedley, unanimously rejected her plea for the sentence to be suspended or reduced. Mr Justice Turner said the sentence "erred, if it did, on the side of leniency".

Last Thursday Dixon was led to the cells in tears after Judge Michael Cartlidge acknowledged the "tragedy" and "sadness" of the case. Attempts to win bail for Dixon failed and Alana was born in hospital at 2.10pm on Sunday. Both are in the mother and baby unit at Low Newton prison, Durham.