Ten years ago, Grace Firth from Stockport, committed a crime, but evaded justice for more than a decade.
Finally the law has caught up with the 32-year-old student and she has appeared in court to answer for a most heinous crime. Experts eventually traced her without putting her on Manchester’s most wanted list and without any appeals for witnesses. Perhaps if they had, this woman could have been hauled before the courts sooner to answer for her offence – dropping a Greggs paper bag on the floor.
Firth, from Stockport, did not know she had been a crook on the run since August 2009 when she failed to turn up to court for the horrific violation of the law. The crime scene, Bridgewater Place in Manchester city centre’s Northern Quarter, has since been cleaned several times, but without the help of the £370 Firth was ordered to pay over a decade ago.
But her luck ran out and she was told she had to appear before magistrates in December last year over what was described as ‘historical debt’. That is when it dawned on Firth that she was a convict who had been on the run – skilfully evading justice and staying under the radar – for over 10 years.
She told the magistrates that the letters summonsing her to court in 2009 had been sent to her mother’s address and those letters were either thrown away or returned to sender.
On Tuesday she swore on oath that she knew nothing about the debt. Magistrates – so perplexed by the case that they questioned the dates involved – accepted this, reducing her fine to £40 and removing the order to pay costs, according to the BBC.
They told her as she left: ‘You’ve been very fair and very honest. Thank you for being so honest and for turning up.’