LONDON -- A British lawmaker's wife was given a nine-month suspended jail sentence for stealing a kitten from the home of her husband's mistress.
Christine Hemming, the wife of John Hemming, was also ordered to complete 150 hours of community service and pay $1,611 costs.
The 53 year old was captured on CCTV crawling around the garden of her love rival's property before peering inside. After a few minutes she went into the house owned by Emily Cox, 36, who was having a long-term affair with Hemming, who is the member of parliament for Birmingham Yardley, central England.
She was seen emerging with Beauty the kitten and looked directly into one of the cameras before making off with the cat, which was never seen again.
After viewing what the prosecution called "compelling" CCTV evidence, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court found her guilty of burglary.
The court heard Hemming had an 11-year relationship with Cox and the pair had a child together. Both women knew about the "arrangement."
But by September of last year the millionaire lawmaker's relationship with his wife had become strained, especially after she discovered that he had loaned his mistress $321,760 to buy the house. Three days before the burglary he had moved out of the marital home.
Hemming said she went to Cox's home, close to her own house in Birmingham, to take her husband's post. She had been in a confused state and claimed, "I don't recall picking up the cat. I don't recall taking the cat. I have no interest in stealing a cat. I am not vindictive."
She maintained that when she realized what she had done, she dropped Beauty back close to Cox's home but the cat disappeared.
Reacting to the verdict, Hemming said it was time to "move on."
"Obviously it's not a nice situation to be in, nobody would wish it, but that's the way it is," he said.
"It's not good for any of my children, but on the other hand she [his wife] had to stay out of Emily's garden."