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Grandmother fails to attend court again

Blackpool Magistrates Court

Blackpool Magistrates Court

A woman has had fines imposed on her by a court cut by magistrates.

Rita Astbury, who weighs 30 stone, said she was too overweight to appear before magistrates.

And when a court officer turned up at her home in Milbourne Street, Blackpool, armed with a warrant for her arrest he could not carry out the task because of health and safety issues connected with her size.

After having court hearings adjourned 20 times in 12 months, 58-year-old Astbury again failed to turn up at the town’s magistrates’ court to be sentenced.

She had been found guilty in her absence in October last year of knowingly failing to ensure a child’s attendance at school.

Magistrates decided the matter must be drawn to a close after hearing her lawyer Robert Castle state: “She will not be attending because of her incapacitated state.”

In her absence she was given a 12-month conditional discharge and magistrates reviewed previous fines imposed on her for similar offences reducing them by £290.

Suzanne Holroyd, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said: “There is a long history in this case. There have been warrants with bail and without bail and she has four previous convictions for this offence.”

Rita Astbury took legal responsibility for her daughter’s two children after they were removed from the UK and taken to live in a remote North African village with her mother and her boyfriend.

The children’s mother was later arrested and jailed for taking the pair abroad in breach of a court order.

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