A woman who tried to avoid a fraud charge by convincing court staff she had died has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Victoria Sully, 32, used a series of telephone calls pretending to be her own mother who at first said Sully was ill, then that her condition had deteriorated before in February 2008 in a tearful call it was claimed she had died.
Those calls to West Suffolk Magistrates Court in Bury St Edmunds resulted in the court register being marked: “No further enquiries - defendant deceased”, prosecutor Michael Crimp told Ipswich Crown Court.
Sully, of Butterside Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford, was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years on Thursday April 10.
She had pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The court heard how in October 2008 Sully had been caught on CCTV using a credit card that did not belong to her to pay for a £39 tanning session in Bury.
She was charged with fraud but failed to attend the magistrates court on June 6 after which the court office received a string of calls purporting to be from her mother informing of her daughter’s declining health.
Mr Crimp said that Sully was finally caught when she was arrested for an unconnected matter by police in Kent on New Years Eve in 2012 who carried out checks.
As officers were leaving her house one had said to Sully: “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
Defending, Oliver Kirk said Sully, now a mother of two, had been using cocaine on a regular basis and had been advised by a friend on how to avoid appearing in court.
Mr Kirk said: “It was a very foolish decision.
“It involved others as well.
“She frankly didn’t understand the very serious consequences for her.”
The offences had been committed when Sully was in the grip of an addiction which she no longer had.
Sully, who worked part-time at a supermarket, was remorseful and had discovered last week that she was pregnant again.
Mr Kirk said that once she started lying about being ill she found it impossible to stop.
He said: “Once she started she could not turn the clock back.”
Judge Goodin said in addition to the suspended sentence, Sully would be required to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and be under Probation Service supervision for 12 months.