A WOMAN is lucky she isn’t in prison tonight after she lied to police she was her innocent and pregnant cousin to escape a driving ban.
Bethan Debono, 30, of Sea Point, Crosshill, Barry, told officers she was her relative Kayleigh Roberts to try and wriggle out of trouble.
She lied twice to police she was her blameless cousin after the defendant was stopped driving without insurance in Barry and Cardiff in 2019.
Her hare-brained scheme backfired when the horrified and puzzled Miss Roberts ended up being banned from driving after she was wrongly prosecuted by the courts.
Prosecutor Jason Howells told Newport Crown Court how deeply affected the victim was by being framed by Debono.
He read out her victim personal statement in which she said: “When I received the letter from the DVLA I was shocked, concerned and worried about the consequences.
“I was worried by way of having very little information and I couldn’t believe I had been accused of this offence.
“I was stressed and extremely anxious and was worried for the health of my unborn child.
“I was upset and felt betrayed when I thought it could have been a member of my own family.”
Miss Roberts contacted the DVLA and Cardiff Magistrates’ Court, where she had been convicted in her absence, to clear her name.
She reported the matter to the police who confirmed she was not the driver when the offences took place.
Suspecting her cousin might be behind things, she showed one of the officers who had stopped Debono a photo of her cousin who confirmed he had spoken to the woman in the picture.
She pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Rosamund Rutter, mitigating, said her client was struggling with drug addiction.
The defendant had completed a privately-funded rehabilitation programme and had only relapsed once following the completion of her treatment.
Judge Jeremy Jenkins told Debono: “What you did was wicked.
“You pretended to be your cousin, a young woman who was wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.
“As a result of saying you were Kayleigh Roberts she was given notice she had been disqualified from driving having accumulated 12 penalty points but nothing could be further from the truth.
“Apart from the anxiety of knowing she wasn’t responsible the difficulty in trying to overturn that decision by the lower courts must have been a terrific struggle and difficult for her.”
The judge said he was just able to spare the defendant an immediate prison sentence.
Debono was jailed for eight months, suspended for 18 months.
She was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and pay court costs of £585.