A JUDGE said he didn’t know “what on earth the magistrates were thinking” when they bailed a ram raider who today failed to turn up at the crown court for a third time.

Issuing another warrant for Christina Colton’s arrest, Judge Jason Taylor QC said the delays were getting beyond a joke.

Colton is awaiting sentence together with co-accused Michael Denyer. The pair stole thousands of pounds-worth of perfume from a Trowbridge Boots in June 2019 in a smash-and-grab raid that saw them ram a Ford Fiesta through the glass doors.

The 44-year-old from Hartcliffe, Bristol, has already twice failed to turn up at Swindon Crown Court, resulting in her sentencing hearing having to be adjourned.

Judge Jason Taylor QC has already issued warrants. After the first hearing, the police confused the nature of the warrant and arranged for Colton to hand herself in before the hearing, it was said. When she was a no-show earlier this month the warrant was re-issued.

An astonished judge told Peter Binder, Colton’s barrister, he was told on Tuesday that the woman was picked up by the police and put before the justices at the weekend.

He said: “For reasons that I find completely unfathomable the magistrates released her on bail and, surprise, surprise, this is now the third crown court hearing where she is not in attendance.”

Mr Binder replied: “I have spoken to her this morning. In fact, she says she is on her way but has not yet left Bristol and I have explained the consequences of her conduct. I am assured she is on her way.”

Judge Taylor issued another warrant but said he would hold off sending the paperwork to the police until 1pm. “I’ll hear her excuses/reasons if she deigns to appear before 1 o’clock today.”

She did not appear before the court and the warrant was issued administratively.

During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Taylor told prosecutor Rhianna Fricker that he wanted it made clear on the CPS file that if a prosecutor was dealing with the case at the weekend then any application for bail should be opposed.

“She has already failed to attend twice, causing two aborted hearings and if she fails to attend today - and the cynical part of me says she will not attend today - then that is going to be three,” he said.

“This is getting beyond a joke and I do not understand what on earth the magistrates were thinking of. Absolutely absurd.”

Colton did not attend court and the warrant was issued.