Birmingham & Black Country

John Hemming kitten theft case: MP's wife was 'stressed'

The wife of an MP who stole a kitten from the home of her husband's mistress has said she was "extremely stressed" at the time.

Christine Hemming, 53, whose husband John is MP for Birmingham Yardley, was found guilty of burglary at the city's crown court last month.

She was filmed on CCTV removing the kitten, called Beauty, from the Moseley home of Emily Cox last year.

On Friday Hemming was given a suspended jail sentence for burglary.

She said on 26 September 2010 when she took the cat she had "reached the end of my tether".

'Not deliberate'

Thinking back to that day, she said she still could not remember how it came to be in her possession.

She said: "I did not deliberately take the cat.

Image caption Christine Hemming said she tried to return the kitten, which is still missing

"I went to the property to give my husband his post. I had no recollection of taking the cat.

"I didn't realise I had it until I returned to the house and there it was in the back of the car."

She said she put Beauty over her garden fence and the next day took her to "within 30 metres" of Ms Cox's home thinking she would find her way back.

During a three-day trial, the court heard how Mr Hemming, his former personal assistant Ms Cox and his wife had been involved in a "love triangle".

Mrs Hemming said: "It was an extremely stressful time for me as any woman in that situation would realise."

She said she did not want to comment on the state of her marriage now or her family life.

Mr Hemming has previously said that marriage was like a covenant or "unbreakable contract" but if something went wrong with that "agreement" the couple had the right to deal with it privately.

He also said that he had deliberately chosen not to disclose information about his private life in recent years, despite entering himself into a News of The World competition for Love Rat of the Year in 2005.

Infrared camera

Ms Cox said last month she had no feelings of guilt about her affair with Mr Hemming but she did understand it must have been stressful for Mrs Hemming.

Mr Hemming met his wife at a conference in Bridlington and they married in 1981.

Image caption Mr Hemming and Ms Cox have known each other for 13 years and have a four-year-old daughter together

He now has a four-year-old daughter, the owner of the kitten, with Ms Cox.

Mrs Hemming said when she realised the cat had not returned she bought an infrared camera to try to locate it.

She said she sent out leaflets and put up posters offering a reward for Beauty's return.

She added that when she found out the cat belonged to Ms Cox's daughter it drove her on further to try and find it.

"I could never harm an animal. I look after animals. I've had a cat since I was born," she said.

She added that all she wanted to do by talking to the media was find the cat.

"I'm here purely to try and find or identify the cat because it's still missing."

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