Ottery mum jailed for protecting son


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A MOTHER has been jailed for lying to protect her teenage son when he crashed the family car during an unofficial driving lesson on a camp site.

Mary-Ann Smith, of Ferguson Close, Ottery St Mary, knew her son was not insured and so told everyone at the scene she had been driving when the car was involved in a minor shunt at the Cat and Fiddle camp site near Aylesbeare.

She maintained the lie when she filed her insurance report and repeated it when the police were called in to investigate and when she was taken to court, but witnesses said her son was the driver.

Smith, 39, sobbed in the dock at Exeter Crown Court as she was jailed for 18 weeks and told it was necessary to deter others from thinking that such offences are not serious.

Smith denied perverting the course of justice, but was found guilty at a trial last month.

She was jailed by Recorder Mr John Williams who told her: “This arose from an incident in which you allowed your son to drive and there was a very minor accident.

“You immediately told people you were the driver for insurance purposes and thereafter you lied to the police and the jury about what happened, maintaining throughout you were the driver when it was plain you were not.

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“It may be that you were not trying to protect yourself and you were protecting your son and I give you credit for finally accepting what you have done and showing remorse.”

He added: “The great problem with these cases is that people embark on them thinking they are unimportant. For that reason I have absolutely no choice but to send you to prison.”

During the trial last month, prosecutor Mr Gordon Richings compared the case to that of former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Price, who were both jailed for a speeding points fiddle.

Mr Richard Crabb, defending, said she has now admitted her guilt to the writer of the probation pre-sentence report.

He said she cares for her elderly mother and disabled husband, who will both suffer more than her if she is jailed.

He added: “She is unlikely to offend again and this is a personal tragedy for her. She brought it on herself and it is she who is going to prison but it is the vulnerable people around her who will suffer most.”