Pregnant mum of three jailed today for not paying fines following TV licence conviction

PUBLISHED: 18:29 08 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 02 June 2010

A FIVE months pregnant mother of three was jailed today for failing to pay fines dating more than two years for not having a TV licence. Emma Sutton sobbed as she was handcuffed and led away to jail for failing to pay her court fines. Sutton had broken do

A FIVE months pregnant mother of three was jailed today for failing to pay fines dating more than two years for not having a TV licence.

Emma Sutton sobbed as she was handcuffed and led away to jail for failing to pay her court fines.

Sutton had broken down as she begged Fenland magistrates for her freedom, so she could see her children before Christmas.

"Please don't send me to prison, I am not strong enough," she cried. "I don't think I would survive in prison, I am not that sort of person."

But the court had run out of patience after hearing that the 26-year-old failed to pay TV licence fines totalling £480 imposed more than two years ago, and they jailed her for 13 days, so wiping out her court debts.

Back in March 2008 Sutton was warned she could be jailed for failing to pay fines - and twice last year magistrates gave her another chance to pay up.

But on Tuesday presiding magistrate Linda Clarke told Sutton: "In two and a half years you have only paid £10 towards this fine, it has been suspended three times.

"The time has come for us to activate the suspended sentence; you will serve 13 days imprisonment."

Sutton was expected to be released after six or seven days. "You will be out in plenty of time to see your children," added Mrs Clarke. "Although you are pregnant, they will look after you.

Sutton, who has a "care-of" address in Sheppersons Grove, March, was originally ordered to pay fines, costs and surcharge totalling £810 in 2007 for three offences of having no TV licence.

By March 2008 she had paid just £10; the court wiped £310 off the debt and ordered her to pay the remainder at £20 a week. She made two payments of £5.

"She is all over the place, she says she is not good with money," said solicitor John Clarke. "She is falling on the mercy of the court."

Speaking to magistrates from the dock at Wisbech courthouse, Sutton cried as she said: "I have not been thinking properly, it is my own fault." She believed payments on another fines account had been deducted from her benefit.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Wisbech Standard. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Wisbech Standard