Lottery jackpot claim grandmother cleared of stealing pensioner's purse on way to blind date

Lottery jackpot claim grandmother cleared of stealing pensioner's purse on way to blind date
Susanne Hinte.

A grandmother in England who staked a failed claim to a £33m National Lottery jackpot has been cleared of stealing a purse from a pensioner's home while en route to a blind date.

Susanne Hinte, whose ticket for January's record-breaking Lotto draw was said to have been damaged in a washing machine, was acquitted of theft by magistrates after a three-day trial.

The grandmother-of-four was accused of stealing £55 in cash and two bank cards belonging to 73-year-old Susan Kirby after calling at her bungalow in Birmingham to ask for help in January 2015.

Hinte, of Borrowdale Drive, Warndon, Worcester, told Birmingham Magistrates' Court in May that she had not even seen the purse while chatting with Mrs Kirby.

The 48-year-old healthcare worker told the court she was "in distress" at being unable to find the address of her date, who lived nearby, and had asked Mrs Kirby if she could charge her mobile phone.

Before Hinte was acquitted by magistrates, her solicitor-advocate, Judith Kenney, said her client "had got love on her mind, not theft" at the time of the alleged offence.

A second charge of theft - alleging that Hinte stole an Xbox controller from a man she met online - was dropped in April after he declined to attend court.

Hinte, the court heard, called at Mrs Kirby's home on January 3 last year after driving to Birmingham and struggling to find the man's home.

In her closing submissions to JPs, Miss Kenney said of Hinte: "This is an extraordinary case for this reason - this woman was looking for romance, she was looking for love.

"Instead she found herself the recipient of not one but two criminal charges of theft."

Criticising the police constable in charge of the inquiry, Miss Kenney added: "Sadly, Mrs Hinte's account in interview has not been investigated at all.

"A complaint was made and as far as (the investigating officer) was concerned, it was an open and shut case. He wasn't prepared to investigate it."

After being cleared of stealing the pensioner's purse, Hinte thanked the magistrates hearing her case and leaned briefly on a nearby desk for support.

She then left court with her agent, Barry Tomes, without making any comment.

In a statement released by Mr Tomes, Hinte said she planned to attend Birmingham's Shardfest music festival over the weekend, where she hopes to meet 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur.


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