Maxine Carr's mother jailed for Soham trial threats

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The mother of Maxine Carr was jailed for six months today for intimidating a witness in the Soham murder trial.

The mother of Maxine Carr was jailed for six months today for intimidating a witness in the Soham murder trial.

Shirley Capp, 61, from Grimsby, was found guilty last month of threatening her neighbour Marion Westerman.

Today at Sheffield Crown Court, Judge John Reddihough, said he had no choice but to jail Capp because to do otherwise would be to "send out completely the wrong message".

Capp showed no emotion as the judge read out his sentence but her daughter, Hayley Hodgson, was in tears in the public gallery.

The jury in the trial heard how Capp threatened Ms Westerman during an argument at her house, which began with a dispute over a cat.

Ms Westerman had told police and, eventually, an Old Bailey jury that she had seen Maxine Carr and Ian Huntley looking in the boot of a car outside Capp's house shortly after 10–year–old Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman went missing.

She said that Carr was crying.

Today, the judge said he was satisfied that Ms Westerman had been frightened by the threats made by Capp and had told a police officer immediately afterwards that she was not going to give evidence in the Soham trial because of them.

Today Judge Reddihough said Ms Westerman was "extremely upset and frightened by your threats".

He said: "She was frightened for her own safety and she was saying she would not give evidence in the Soham case because of her fear.

"In due course, she actually did give evidence as required.

"This is a serious offence and, in recent years, courts have been very concerned at the increased number of witnesses that are threatened or intimidated."

The judge went on: "For this reason, only a custodial sentence is appropriate for the offence for which you have been convicted.

"It would send out completely the wrong message should a custodial sentence not be imposed for intimidating a witness in a case so serious as the Soham murder case."

The judge said he had taken into account a psychological report which detailed the trauma Capp had been through since her daughter's arrest in August 2002 and was continuing to feel when the intimidation offence took place on May 13 last year.

He heard she had been diagnosed with chronic post–traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.

The judge said he took into account the "difficulties you have faced and continue to face by reason of the notoriety of your daughter, Maxine Carr".