MP's wife guilty of stealing kitten

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The Independent Online

An MP's wife caught on CCTV stealing a kitten from the home of her husband's lover has been found guilty of burglary.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court took just over five hours to convict Christine Hemming, 53, who snatched the cat three days after separating from Liberal Democrat John Hemming.

CCTV footage of the offence, on September 29, shows Mrs Hemming crawling on her hands and knees underneath a window before sneaking into the home of Emily Cox.

Hemming, who showed no reaction as the verdict was returned, will be sentenced next month.

She was bailed to appear at Birmingham Crown Court on October 28.

Mrs Hemming had denied the charge, claiming she could not remember taking the four-month-old kitten, named Beauty.

She told the jury of six men and six women that she had visited the property in Moseley, Birmingham, to deliver post to her husband, MP for Birmingham Yardley.

One of four CCTV cameras at Ms Cox's address captured images of Mrs Hemming leaving the crime scene with the tabby under her arm.

During her evidence to the jury, the mother-of-three conceded that the footage looked "terrible" but said she simply did not want any children in the house to see her as she took letters to the property.

She said: "What I am saying is that, at the time that I got to the door and I went in, it was just a blur.

"I left holding a kitten - there is no doubt about that - but I have no recollection of picking the kitten up."

The kitten was never found after the theft, which was unmasked when Mr Hemming found the incriminating CCTV recording and alerted Ms Cox.

Mrs Hemming said: "I didn't know there was a cat in the property ... and I tried my best to return the cat when it dawned on me that I had it."