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Thief jets off to Oz before sentencing

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

by Sam Lennon

Magistrates let a thief who ran over a PCSO go on holiday to Australia before she's sentenced.

Sapphia Da-Silva knocked over PCSO Daniel Smith in her car, sending him flying 5ft in the air when she attempted to escape after shoplifting at the Ashford Designer Outlet Centre.

He seemed so badly injured a colleague thought he had been killed.

But a court on Tuesday agreed to let the 28-year-old go on the seven-week trip Down Under for Christmas and the New Year before sentencing.

PCSO Smith had said in a statement: "I was flying in the air and landed on my right hip. I lay there in shock at what had happened."

Colleague Stuart Manning, who had also been injured, said: "I believed he was dead.

"I was astounded that a person could run the risk of killing or injuring someone for the sake of a few items."

Both men are still off sick.

Da-Silva's case had been adjourned for pre-sentence reports, which would usually take about four weeks.

But her trip, on a visa, is from November 28 to January 15 and Ashford magistrates agreed to adjourn the date until January 31.

Nigel Numas, for Da-Silva, said: "She wants to go to Australia and take her mother and children to see her nan."

Chairman of the bench Anne Norris told him: "We are dealing with something extremely serious.

"Is it relevant for your client to go on holiday? There is also a victim who is off sick and has been seriously injured."

Mr Numas had explained that Da-Silva, from Chelsea, west London, cared for her mentally ill mother, as well as her two children.

He said: "In terms of going Australia this is to get a bit of respite and a bit of help from her grandmother."

Mrs Norris asked for authentication of the trip and Mr Numas said it had been approved by a clinical team.

Magistrates studied documentation before agreeing to the longer adjournment.

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