The wife of Birmingham MP John Hemming was captured on CCTV stealing a kitten from her love rival’s home and admitted to police that she took a cat from the house, a court has been told.
Jurors were told Christine Hemming “sneaked” into former city councillor Emily Cox’s house in Moseley and emerged three minutes later carrying a four-month-old cat under her left arm.
Jason Pegg, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court that both women had been locked in an 11-year “love triangle” with the Liberal Democrat Yardley MP, who had a young daughter with Miss Cox.
And he said Miss Cox discovered the cat, called Beauty, had gone missing when she put down food for her two cats but only one, Twinkle, came forward to eat.
“Beauty was never seen again by Emily,” he said.
After carrying out a search and quizzing neighbours, Miss Cox viewed CCTV which she had installed at her home in Church Road, Moseley, said Mr Pegg.
“That CCTV footage showed exactly what had happened to the kitten.
“The defendant Hemming had sneaked around the back garden, opened the back door to Emily’s house and entered Emily’s home.
“She remained in that house for three minutes. She then left through the same door. When she left under her left arm was Beauty the kitten,” he said.
Hemming, 53, of Chantry Road, Moseley, has denied burgling Miss Cox’s home on September 29 last year.
Mrs Hemming was arrested on suspicion of burglary at about 7am on October 14 and, the court heard, admitted to police that she had taken a cat.
A transcript of her police interview was read to the trial by Mr Pegg and Detective Constable Ian Davis, who was involved in the arrest.
During the interview, Mrs Hemming told officers she went to Church Road after her husband ended a telephone call by saying there was somebody at the door.
"I didn't know where he was because we separated on the 27th and ... he wouldn't say to me where he'd gone.
"So I went round and I looked in through the window and it was him in there.
"I looked in and then it was open so I thought 'Oh yes, this is great, this is where he's going to get his post sent to - I bet there's bits lying around here that I might be able to use in the divorce'.
"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'."
Mrs Hemming told police that she then picked up the kitten and left the house, adding that she later let it go in the neighbourhood and had "put it over the fence" at her home.
The jury was shown the CCTV footage during the prosecution's opening speech, and was then talked through which areas of the house it showed by Ms Cox.