Ex-teacher Samantha Burmis fails in bid to have sentence reviewed
A former teacher jailed for two years for deception and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice has failed in her attempt to have her sentence reviewed.
A judge told Samantha Burmis that despite the impact imprisonment had had on her children, he would be failing in his public duty if he were to reduce or suspend her jail term.
He also told the mother-of-four, whom he once described as "devious, manipulative and thoroughly dishonest", that although he had reached his decision "albeit with heavy heart", he had considerable doubt as to whether her remorse was genuine.
Ex-teacher Samantha Burmis has been jailed for two years
Furthermore, it was "too little, too late", said Judge David Griffith-Jones QC.
Burmis, 45, of Bellman Avenue, Gravesend, was sentenced in her absence when she failed to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on August 2.
She had taken an overdose and been admitted to Darent Valley Hospital before transferring to Littlebrook Hospital in Stone.
On leaving hospital, Burmis was arrested, taken to the court on August 12 and ordered to start the term.
But she applied to have the sentence reviewed, having been given liberty to do so by Judge Griffith-Jones, who conducted her trial.
A jury heard how Burmis, who has taught at Aylesford School, Maidstone, Swadelands School in Lenham, and Homewood School in Tenterden, used her daughter Nina Burmis's fingerprints in an attempt to hide her criminal past.
She had been jailed for a year in January 1995 for a £90,000 mortgage fraud.
However, Nina's prints were already on police files as she had been convicted of using a forged cheque to pay for a £3,200 breast enlargement.
Teacher Samantha Burmis, who hid her criminal record, outside Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Mike Gunnill
Samantha Burmis denied obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but was convicted on what the judge described as "compelling" evidence.
Nina Burmis, 24, from Wembley, London, also denied conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and was convicted by the same jury.
She was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years.
At the review hearing the same judge was urged to take into account the distress and upset caused to Samantha Burmis's two youngest children, aged two and 16, by her imprisonment.
Colin Hart, defending, said Burmis now accepted her guilt and was "extremely sorry" for her actions and for involving her eldest daughter.
He added that the request for a review was not aimed at minimising her criminal behaviour.
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
However, Judge Griffith-Jones said he had already taken into the account the significant impact of imprisonment on her children when he passed sentence and had kept the jail term as short as he possibly could.
"Inevitably I remain troubled by the effects which a custodial sentence will have on her two young children.
"But I would also be very concerned at the message it would give to them as they grow up were I to mitigate the sentence by allowing her her liberty.
"Moreover, were I to do so in all the circumstances of the case, I remain of the view that I would be failing in my duty to the public."
Burmis, who at times during the hearing became visibly distressed in the dock, has written several letters to the judge.
Her estranged husband, Peter, speaking on her behalf, described her as "a wreck".
Her youngest daughter is now being cared for by Nina Burmis.
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