MP John Hemming's wife sentenced for cat snatch

An MP's wife was given a nine-month suspended jail sentence today for snatching a kitten from the home of her husband's mistress.

Christine Hemming, 53, from Moseley, Birmingham, was convicted of burglary by a jury at the city's Crown Court last month.



She was captured on CCTV stealing a four-month-old tabby from the home of Emily Cox, the long-term lover of Liberal Democrat John Hemming.





Mrs Hemming was told her sentence would be suspended for 12 months.

She was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid community work, and pay costs of £1,000.



She made no comment as she left the court after the hearing.









Mrs Hemming denied the charge but was found guilty after jurors watched CCTV footage of her taking the cat from the home of Mr Hemming's mistress, Emily Cox, last September.

Cameras filmed Mrs Hemming crawling on her hands and knees beneath a window before entering the property and emerging with the cat, named Beauty, under her arm.



During the trial she accepted that the footage looked "terrible" but said she had simply been trying to avoid being seen by any children at the property, claiming she was at the house to drop off some post.



The mother of three told jurors she had "no recollection" of taking the tabby, which was never seen again, from Ms Cox's property in Moseley, Birmingham.



Jurors heard that Mrs Hemming, her husband, and Ms Cox were involved in a "love triangle" at the time of the burglary.









Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, Mr Hemming said: "I'm not happy about the situation generally.

"It's not good, is it, but none of it was necessarily that good anyway.



"Obviously it's not a nice situation to be in, nobody would wish it, but that's the way it is."



He added: "It's not good for any of my children, but on the other hand she (Mrs Hemming) had to stay out of Emily's garden."



Asked how he thought his constituents might react to the story, he said: "They knew that I had two relationships back in 2010 when I was elected, a lot of people knew in 2000. But the reality about it is we move on.



"I've got a job to do, I've got political work to do in the next few minutes.



"I am out here talking to you very quickly and then I am getting on with my work."







Prosecutor Jason Pegg said the kitten was "of great sentimental value".

He added: "There was deliberate targeting of Emily Cox's address, some may say out of deliberate spite.



"The kitten has never been recovered. What happened to it, nobody knows."



Judge Elizabeth Fisher told Mrs Hemming: "Emily Cox made it clear in her evidence that you had no permission to enter her house and that you would never be welcome in her home.



"The kitten has not been seen since the burglary offence. This inevitably would have caused a degree of upset to the victim and her young daughter."



The judge added that she accepted Mrs Hemming was "under considerable emotional pressure" in the period leading up to the burglary.







Speaking to ITV News this afternoon, Mrs Hemming said: "I'm not a criminal, yet I have a conviction.



"I did not deliberately take the cat. The whole process has been very unfortunate."



She added: "Why I stepped in, I'll never know. And then I tried to hide in the adjacent room, but when it's cut and clipped (the CCTV footage) it looks terrible. Particularly when I left holding the cat.



"I think that the cat's the victim."



Mrs Hemming said during her trial that she had no recollection of taking the kitten, describing the incident as "a blur".

PA

News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionPart of 'best-selling' Demeter scent range
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering