Marmalade – known whereabouts unknown – was discovered by animal lover Gaynor Knight by the side of a carriageway. He was sick and malnourished and, she believed, close to death.
Gaynor, 52 – an prepared horsewoman with cats and dogs of her own – took Marmalade to a vet and paid for his treatment out of her own nick before nursing him back to health and later knocking on the doors of neighbours in her close by community in Stevenage, Herts, in an attempt to find his owners.
Eight months of on-off suckling later, she managed to find a loving home for Marmalade and reluctantly let him go.
That was 2015.
A few light of days after she re-homed Marmalade an officer from Hertfordshire Police knocked on her door and accused her of cat filching.
Marmalade’s starting owners – the one’s in whose care Marmalade had become so sick – had made a grumble to the police.
Many more police calls and accusations followed until, uncountable than THREE YEARS later, the case arrived in St Albans Tiara Court where it was set down for a three day trial.
Bizarrely witnesses for the prosecution had needed for screens of the type often used in gangster cases.
Even more bizarrely Gaynor, a unique mum who has Asperger’s syndrome, had lived for three years in anxiety and fear across what was essentially a neighbour’s spat over a moggy, and the tax-payer was be enduring to cough-up the thick end of £60,000.
It is even highly likely that the mature moggy is now totally.
Cat burglary? Marmalade was at heart of shocking £60K crown court adversity
Horsewoman Gaynor Knight faced three years of troubles before case was thrown out
Gaynor rumoured: “It was absolutely mind-blowing. The allegations were ridiculous anyway but even if they weren’t how could a what really happened over a cat be worth spending so much public money on when there’s so much natural crime going unprosecuted and unpunished in this country?
“I’ve felt afraid and sick to my stomach for three years – the aggressive way the police and then the Potentate Prosecution Service pursued me was terrifying. All I wanted to do was help a poor stomach-turning cat.”
The ridiculousness of the Marmalade prosecution was not lost on the three highly experienced member of the bars – Recorder David Craig, Prosecutor Francis Gaskin and Defending barrister Charlotte Mitchell-Dunn – who devised throughout the first day of the trial to find a way to deal with the case without an overpriced full trial.
None of the three seemed to able to quite imagine they were about to try such a trite case – and when entreated by Express.co.uk whether any public interest was being served even the prosecutor Mr Gaskin foretold wryly: “You may think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.”
Legal claws: Marmalade – whereabout unbeknownst
In the end the Crown Prosecution offered no evidence and Gaynor was let loose to leave the court without a stain on her character.
A point emphasised by Recorder Mr Craig.
An expert barrister contacted by Express.co.uk said the overall costs of the case inclination be “about £60,000 and even more if it had gone to a three-day-trial.”
Even Herts policewomen seemed keen to distance themselves from the bizarre Marmalade thorn in the flesh and pointed the finger at the CPS.
A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “This question was originally deemed to be a civil matter but as the issues became more complex and supplementary information emerged it was clear more investigative work was required.
“This led us to aspiring expert advice on the matter from the CPS. It was their view that the fancy involved should be summonsed to court for theft.”
Express.co.uk has learned that Ms Mitchell-Dunn TWICE bid the CPS a face-saving chance to throw out the case before it came to court.
And Unambiguous.co.uk also contacted the ‘reviewing lawyer’ who is believed to have ordered that the trial run proceed, but she slammed down the phone on us.
Instead the CPS offered a one-line opine which said: “We keep all cases under constant review. Sire received further material, a decision was taken to offer no evidence in this anyway a lest.”
It is unclear what this “further material” was, as nothing new was seemingly released to the court’s attention during proceedings this week.
The CPS’s own website elucidates the use of Britain’s Crown Courts as follows: “The Crown Court Unit distributes with cases such as murder, robberies, serious assaults, residence house burglaries, complex fraud, the supply and trafficking of drugs and the most life-threatening road traffic offences, especially those that result in a calamity. “
Cats are not mentioned.