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Imaginary NZ friend earns protective mother jail

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 09:24 14/02/2013

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An English court has jailed a woman who claimed a non-existent Aucklander was driving her speeding car.

In reality, 49-year-old Susan Sherwood's son Sam was the driver. His mum was just trying to save him from incurring penalty points which would have affected his car insurance.

After pleading guilty in Luton Crown Court to a charge of perverting the course of justice, Sherwood was jailed for nine weeks. She sobbed as she was led from the court.

Sam, 24, was caught on a speed camera doing 60mph (100kmh) in a 50mph (80kmh) section of the M1 motorway in Bedfordshire at 10.20pm on December 1, 2011.

Sherwood, of Luton, Bedfordshire, had initially said various people could have been the driver and she could not provide further details, the Daily Mail reported.

When police wrote to her again, she wrote back in January 2012 naming a "Mr Moderich", a friend from New Zealand, and provided an Auckland address.

She had also asked to see the speed camera picture, which was taken in the dark and was grainy. Judge David Farrell QC said she had been testing the water to see if it was possible to make out who was driving.

While police tried to establish if Moderich was a real person, inquiries with insurers revealed no one of that name was entitled under the policy to drive Sherwood's car.

She was summonsed to court for allowing a car to be used with no insurance.

Then last July Sherwood said she had since discovered her son had been driving.

Her lawyer Charles Judge said the incident was due to a "mother's desire to protect her son". Every day since the incident she wished she could turn back the clock.

The judge said the case was made worse by the persistence with which she continued to lie, and the planning involved.

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