Cat at Center of Off-the-Wall Love Triangle Theft Case Still Missing

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Beauty was taken from her Mosely, Birmingham UK home a year ago, on September, 29 2010 in what is either a catnapping or a case of accidental taking that was captured on CCTV. The woman who took Beauty has made bizarrly improbable and conflicting statements about the incident to authorities. A trial is playing out now, but poor Beauty has not been seen by her family again.

Christine Hemming, the woman on trial for theft, is the wife of MP John Hemming. Emily Cox has been John Hemming’s long-time lover, and the two have a daughter; Beauty was the daughter’s kitten.

CCTV footage shows Christine Hemming out in the bushes of the Cox home, then entering the home and exiting some time later with the kitten.

Ms. Hemming says in one version of her story that she was there to leave some mail for her husband, seeing how he had recently gone to live at the other woman’s house. Conflicting information has it that the man was known by both women to divide his time between the two. Another version has her using the mail dropoff as an excuse to snoop for evidence to use in a divorce.

The bizarre element revolves around the conflicts and inconsistencies in the accounts, as well as Ms. Hemming’s testimony that the cat brushed up against her legs in the Cox house and she picked it up, that she has no recollection of taking the cat, and that she put Beauty over the fence at her own home when she discovered that the cat was there.  She told authorities “Then this kitten comes up to me and rubs itself against my legs and basically I thought: ‘Not only has he replaced me, he’s replaced our cats’.

A version in the Daily Mail tells it this way, saying Mrs Hemming said she took the four-month-old cat to her house, but later put her over her garden fence ‘because John would have seen it when he came back’. Asked if she accepted that by taking the cat she was effectively stealing it, Mrs Hemming told officers: ‘Yeah, but I didn’t think cats . . . cats live everywhere.’

In one version of the telling, Ms. Hemming claimed to have tried to return beauty by slipping her under the fence of a house on the cat’s street.

All we can conclude from this is that either Ms. Hemming has taken wild liberties with fact or she was completely overwrought – as is not uncommon in such situations – and absent-mindedly carried Beauty off, then released her one place or the other, without considering the consequences for the innocent cat.

It remains at the back of one’s mind that there may have been a motive to hurt the adults by taking the beloved companion of a little girl, but there is no way to tell.
The court will have to decide how to judge this woman’s actions. We can only hope that Beauty found another home. Given widespread coverage of the story, it would seem that anyone who found her  just over a year ago might recognize her from news reports.
The trial is ongoing.

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