MORE than five years after pinning a speeding fine on her friend, single mother Helen Gibson was finally brought to justice with a suspended four-month prison sentence yesterday.
Gibson, 31, of Dunvant Road in Redhouse, was clocked driving at 80 miles per hour through a 40 miles per hour zone on December 23, 2008.
When she received notification of her offence she pleaded with a close friend to take the points on her behalf, out of fear she would lose her driving licence and her job.
The friend allegedly refused to take the points and was shocked to find she was prosecuted in her absence at Swindon Magistrates Court for the offence, and received a document in 2013, pursuing her for an unpaid fine.
Gibson was subsequently approached and confessed all in an interview with the police. She pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at Swindon Crown Court on April 23 of this year.
In sentencing her to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months, Judge Tim Mousley QC said: “At that time, you had six points on your licence. If you acted honestly you would have been disqualified from driving.
“You asked a friend to take the points and there is an issue over whether she agreed or not, but the point is you were prepared to name a friend as the person committing this offence.
“She says she was unaware until last year, when she was informed by the magistrates’ court she had convicted in her absence.
“You are nearly 32 and you have a bad record going back to when you were quite young.
“I take into account the point this was something like four or five years ago and the fact you haven’t committed any further offences.
“You are plainly, extremely remorseful for what you did and I take that into account.”
Gibson was also put under 12 months supervision and ordered to observe a curfew between 9pm and 6am every day, which will be electronically monitored.
Judge Mousley said the curfew was to take into account Gibson’s responsibility as a mother to her 16-month-old child. It will remain in place for three months.
The DVLA had already withdrawn Gibson’s licence ahead of the sentencing hearing at Swindon Crown Court.
In mitigation for the defendant, Con Fernandes said: “This offence occurred at a tail end of 2008, a time when this defendant was under a lot of pressure.
“She was the sole carer for a nine-year-old daughter and working long hours between 8.30am and 10pm, having risen from the shop floor of the bookies she worked for to assistant manager.
Mr Fernandes also said if she were imprisoned, Gibson’s 16-month-old daughter may have to go into care and she would lose her home.