Airbag DNA exposed Leeds mum's lies after she crashed into traffic lights then told police her car had been stolen

A woman fled from the scene after crashing her car into a traffic light and then contacted the police to report the vehicle stolen.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 7:26 pm

Nicola Smith was later arrested after the vehicle was found and her DNA was recovered from the airbag.

Smith was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice.

Leeds Crown Court heard Smith was the registered keeper of a Citroen which was involved in a collision with traffic lights in the early hours of July 18, 2020.

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Leeds Crown Court

Police went to the scene of the crash but the driver had left.

Smith later reported the vehicle as stolen.

Susan Evans, prosecuting, said: "Police took the report seriously and investigated the theft."

Smith, of Iveson Gardens, Lawnswood, Leeds, was arrested after the DNA on the airbag was found to belong to her.

The 33-year-old mum-of-four refused to comment during an interview but later pleaded guilty to the offence.

The court heard she has not previous convictions.

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Holly Clegg, mitigating, said Smith was unable to explain why she behaved the way she did.

Ms Clegg said the incident happened at a time when the relationship with her husband was breaking down.

The barrister said: "It was a complete one-off and out of character for her.

"She was struggling with depression and anxiety at the time.

"She doesn't know why she did it and does not wish to offer excuses as to why she did it."

Smith was given a ten-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

She was also ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Judge Rodney James Jameson QC said: "It is a very rare thing for a sentence of immediate custody not to be imposed for the offence of doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice.

"It does seem to me that to make you serve a few weeks in custody would potentially have a serious effect on your future prospects."