Bury St Edmunds: Mother-of-two accused of using a stolen credit card at a tanning salon phoned court and told them she was dead
13:10 12 April 2014
A woman who pretended she was dead to avoid a fraud charge five years ago has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send her straight to prison.
Mother-of-two Victoria Sully initially contacted Bury St Edmunds magistrates court in 2009 pretending to be her mother to say she had suffered a miscarriage and was unable to attend court, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Another call was received by the court a few days later saying Sully had undergone a hysterectomy and was having chemotherapy for cancer and this claim appeared to be backed up by a hospital letter, said Michael Crimp, prosecuting.
He said Sully had received a genuine letter concerning borderline changes found during a smear test but by the time it reached the magistrates’ court the letter had been changed completely to suggest she was undergong treatment in hospital.
The court subsequently received another call from a woman claiming to be Sully’s mother saying she was seriously ill and this was followed by a “tearful” call in February 2010 saying she had died, said Mr Crimp.
On February 25 2010 the court proceedings, which related to the use of a stolen credit card, were officially ended and marked “defendant deceased”. That appeared to be the end of the matter until Sully was arrested on New Year’s Eve 2012 following a dispute with her partner and a comment was made to her along the lines of: “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
Sully, 32, of Ashford Kent admitted an offence of fraud dating back to 2008 and committing a series of acts with intent to pervert the course of justice from May 2009- February 2010.
Sentencing her to a six month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordering her to do 200 hours unpaid work in the community Judge David Goodin said that any offence of altering court or police records was extremely serious but acceptd Sully probably hadn’t realised how serious it was at the time.
He told Sully that if she couldn’t attend any of her unpaid work sessions because of ill health she should provide a medical certificate and advised her not to forge it.
Sully was also ordered to pay £39 compensation and to attend sessions at a Women’s Group.
Mr Crimp told the court that the fraud offence that Sully had tried to avoid related to her use of a stolen credit card to pay for a £39 tanning session at a salon in Bury St Edmunds.
Oliver Kirk for Sully said she had made a very foolish decision to lie to the court but had not understood at the time the serious circumstances it would have for her all this time later. “She is terrified she will be sent to prison,” he said.
He said that in the past Sully had used cocaine and had a history of depression. She had also suffered three miscarriages.
She now no longer used drugs and had two young children, a part time job and was doing a college course. “ You could say the offence has come back to haunt her from her very own grave,” said Mr Kirk.
“She was stuck with her foolish decision. She got iller and iller and had to die or face up to it,” he said.