Christine Hemming, wife of British Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, has yesterday escaped a prison sentence for stealing her husband lover’s cat during a burglary.
Christine Hemming, 53, from the city’s suburb of Moseley, was last month convicted at Birmingham Crown Court of stealing the pet from the home of Emily Cox, the mistress of her husband.
The wife was spared a stringent punishment as she was given a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Christine Hemming was also ordered to complete 150 hours of community service and pay costs of £1,000 ($1,500) after she was seen on CCTV abducting four-month-old kitten Beauty.
MP John Hemming, from Birmingham, said last week that he did not think locking up his estranged wife would “be of any benefit to anyone”.
John Hemming, who is a MP for Yardley, said he supported the decision to arrest his wife over pet’s disappearance but did not want her jailed.
CCTV footage of the incident, played to the jury at Christine Hemming’s trial, showed her crawling across Emily Cox’s garden at night and leaving through the back door with Beauty tucked beneath her arm.
Christine Hemming has previously accused her husband, with whom she has three children, of having “about 26 affairs”.
MP John Hemming said that the allegation was a “much-repeated myth”, although he admitted he was unfaithful before his wife walked out on him.
Christine Hemming told ITV News yesterday: “I’m not a criminal, yet I have a conviction.
“I did not deliberately take the cat. The whole process has been very unfortunate.
“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.”
During her trial, Christine Hemming said that she had no recollection of taking the kitten, describing the incident as “a blur”.
Judge Elizabeth Fisher told Christine 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.”
Judge Fisher added that she accepted Christine Hemming was “under considerable emotional pressure” in the period leading up to the burglary.
MP John Hemming said last week: “My wife took Emily’s kitten in September 2010 and, having initially kept it at her home, she then put it through a fence in Sparkhill about a mile from Emily’s house.
“I supported referring the theft of the kitten to the police because I felt it was necessary to stop my wife from feeling she was free to trespass in Emily’s garden at will.
“I was aware there would be media attention in the story but my priority was protecting Emily and our daughter from any potential further harm.”