Covid: Couple fined for seven-mile trip to care home

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Image source, Eamon Bourke
Image caption,
Decima Minhinnick (pictured at her 90th birthday party) is in a care home with vascular dementia

A couple have been fined £60 for driving 20 minutes to see a relative in a care home.

Carol and David Richards from Bridgend travelled seven miles to Porthcawl to visit her mother Decima Minhinnick, 94.

Mrs Richards said she was "mortified" they were stopped by police while returning on Sunday from what she said was a compassionate visit.

South Wales Police defended the fine, citing Covid rules which say people should stay at home.

The couple said they did not believe they breached lockdown rules and have complained about the fixed penalty.

Mrs Richards said the couple had arranged the visit to Picton Court Care Home in advance with the permission of staff, and spoke to her mother, who has vascular dementia, through the window of her ground-floor room from the car park.

"I feel like I'm living in some sort of dystopian novel after what happened," Mrs Richards told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

She added the officer involved was "pedantic and inflexible".

Image source, David and Carol Richards
Image caption,
David and Carol Richards have complained about the fine
Image source, Google
Image caption,
The home is just over seven miles from where the couple live

"A police lady flagged us down and I thought, 'oh right, they're policing the area, that's fine'," she said.

"So I explained to her that we were going home, we'd been to Picton Court visiting my mother, but she said this was a non-essential visit. 

"She said, 'we'd all like to knock on our mother's window to see them but you can't do that' and I was totally gobsmacked.

"I was angry - she just would not listen to any protestations, and so she said 'you're going to be issued with a £60 fixed penalty fine'."

Image source, Eamon Bourke
Image caption,
Years before the pandemic Decima Minhinnick's family gathered for her 90th birthday party

"I do not want to pay this fine," said Mrs Richards. "It's not about the 60 quid, it's about the principle.

"It needs to be clarified. I want to see my mother again - she's 94, she could be dead next month." 

A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: "At 4.15pm on Sunday 10th January, a police officer on patrol in the Porthcawl area issued a fixed penalty notice to a man who had travelled from his home in Penyfai to visit a relative.

"With Wales currently at Alert Level 4, Welsh Government regulations state that people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes and must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with."

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