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Mum charged with Covid breach during lockdown opens up about Partygate fury

Mum cleared of Covid injury for spoiling boyfriend told of'disgust' at Partygate PA/Getty/Supplied

A beautician refused to pay a coronavirus fine for being part of an illegal gathering before the case was dropped (Image: PA/Getty/Supplied)

A mother-of-three accused of breaking coronavirus rules by spoiling a friend in her home is the latest known case to fall under the now-abolished legislation.

The 36-year-old is said to have attended a gathering that flouted Tier Four restrictions, which required people to stay in household groups during the third national lockdown.

The case was dropped in court in December 2021, almost a year after police claimed they broke rules by allowing the girlfriend and their child to stay at their Warwickshire home.

All sweeping coronavirus laws in England ended in February after lawyers raised concerns many prosecutions lacked a firm legal basis.

A May 2021 review conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) found more than a third of nearly 2,000 prosecutions in the first 14 months of the pandemic were unlawful.

The woman, who was working as a beauty therapist at the time, said she refused to pay a firm fine when police visited her Warwick home on January 27, 2021.

She told Metro.co.uk that the friend who had been staying at her house – as part of her social bubble – had been prevented from finding work as a carer while the case was active.

The woman said: “A friend of mine who has a little girl and is also a single parent came to us earlier and stayed with us as part of our social bubble.

“We supported each other and I spoiled her as we are both single parents and have been stuck indoors for weeks.

“At the time they hadn’t indicated how far away another person might be in your bubble and she lived half an hour down in Oxford.

mummy

A mother refused to pay a fine imposed for attending a gathering while coronavirus laws were in place (Image: Included)

“They said it was a different county, but the rules had changed so many times and nowhere did it say you couldn’t cross county lines.

“When the police came, I was just doing their eyelashes, was just busy, and they said I was working, but no money changed hands,

“I refused to pay a fine and they said I would be taken to court.

“Although I didn’t have to go to court, it was very stressful.

“My girlfriend lost a job opportunity because the court case came up as a background check when she decided on a role as a caregiver.”

The sales manager told Metro.co.uk her disdain for politicians and staff who break rules by attending events at Downing Street and Whitehall.

The Partygate affair is still reverberating after Sue Gray’s report, which detailed excessive drinking and late-night gatherings in the heart of Westminster during the pandemic.

EDITORS NOTE: IMAGE EDITED AT SOURCE Handout photo dated 11/13/20 issued by the Cabinet Office, showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting at 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser, which was released with the release of Sue Gray's report at Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown. Issue date: Wednesday May 25, 2022. PA Photo. Full publication of the parties was pushed aside during Operation Hillman, the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the gatherings. The force concluded its investigation on May 19, with a total of 126 fines imposed on 83 people. See PA story POLITICS Johnson. Photo credit should read: Sue Gray Report/Cabinet Office/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to simultaneously illustrate events, things or people in the photo or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

Boris Johnson gestures at 10 Downing Street during a meeting to mark the departure of a special counsel on November 13, 2020 (Image: via Reuters)

“I’m disgusted,” said the woman. “The Queen had to sit alone at her husband’s funeral while they had a party. Many people I know have not been able to go to the funerals of their loved ones.

“The fact is, I haven’t seen my own sister for almost a year.

“The worst part was seeing the prime minister’s adviser laughing in the mock press conference.”

The woman, who asked not to be identified as she wants to get on with her life, was accused of attending a gathering of two or more people at a private home in a Tier 4 area.

The police-led charge, which included a not-guilty plea, was dropped at Coventry and Warwickshire Magistrates’ Court on December 21, records show.

The former beautician is the latest known person in the area not to face further action after being accused of breaking coronavirus rules.

In January, gym owner Jack Ramsay told how he felt “relieved” and “confused” after a 12-month case against him under Covid laws was dropped as he waited outside the courtroom.

Jack Ramsay

Jack Ramsay is among gym owners who have successfully challenged fines as they try to keep their businesses open (Image: Jack Ramsay)

The fitness trainer had also pleaded not guilty to an alleged offense after police fined him £10,000 for allegedly holding a group training session in a marquee at his Nuneaton premises.

Earlier this month, another gym boss, Alex Lowndes, successfully challenged a fine of the same amount for keeping Gainz Fitness & Strength open during the second lockdown in November 2020.

Mr Lowndes had refused to pay the fine because he kept his business afloat in Bedford to protect people’s health.

He was due to stand trial in Magistrates’ Court in March before Bedford Borough Council’s case collapsed, despite the local authority saying it was acting in the public interest.

CPS prosecutors reviewed 1,821 closed cases under the Coronavirus Act and Health Protection Rules and found 549 contained false charges. At the time, the legal body said it continued to work closely with police colleagues and other partners to ensure consistent interpretation of these laws while they remain in effect.

The end of coronavirus laws in England came nearly two years after the pandemic unleashed unprecedented restrictions on daily life.

A Warwickshire Police spokesman said: “The fine was imposed on 27 January 2021 for breaching the requirement not to attend a gathering of two or more people in a private home or indoor space.

“We believe the fine was imposed in good faith and we now respect the outcome of the court case.”

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact josh.layton@metro.co.uk

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/30/mum-accused-of-covid-breach-during-lockdown-tells-of-partygate-anger-16736556/ Mum charged with Covid breach during lockdown opens up about Partygate fury

Justin Scacco

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