Portsmouth murder victim fined £200 for not having TV licence - four months after her death

A TV Licence
A TV Licence
  • Magistrates fined murder victim £200 for having no TV licence
  • Christina Jewell had already been dead for four months when case was ‘proved in absence’
  • Detectives launched a murder probe following discovery of 53-year-old’s body in Somers Town in April
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MURDER victim Christina Jewell has been fined £200 for not having a TV licence – four months after her death.

Detectives launched a major investigation when the 53-year-old was found dead in her flat at Handsworth House in Quinton Close, Somers Town, on April 4.

But four months to the day of her death, magistrates in Fareham fined her for using a colour TV without a licence.

The blunder has come to light as a man arrested on suspicion of her murder and theft was released with no further action.

Former neighbours have paid tribute to Mrs Jewell but spoke of their bewilderment at the posthumous fine for the woman who died at the age of 53.

Roxanne Chappell, 31, who lived near Mrs Jewell, said: ‘It’s horrible to fine someone for not having a TV licence after they’ve died.

‘What a weird thing for TV Licensing to do – it’s really creepy.’

She added her former neighbour ‘kept herself to herself’ and was generally quiet.

Another neighbour, a 36-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, added: ‘She’s already dead, how did they fine her if she’s dead?’

She added: ‘She was a bit of a loner, she always kept herself to herself.’

A man, 76, who lived nearby added: ‘She was a vulnerable type of woman. It was just her demeanour.’

A spokeswoman for HM Courts and Tribunals Service, said Fareham Magistrates’ Court had still not been informed of the death by TV Licensing.

But a spokesman for TV Licensing, which prosecutes in criminal courts for not having a licence, said it was a unique set of circumstances and its prosecutions are up to Crown Prosecution Service standards.

He said: ‘When prosecution was initiated prior to Miss Jewell’s unforeseen and tragic death, the matter passed into the hands of the court.

‘The court would have withdrawn the case had it been aware of Mrs Jewell’s death, as would TV Licensing had we been notified.

‘TV Licensing makes every effort to ensure accurate details are provided to the court.’

A worker from the licensing body had visited Mrs Jewell in February and taken a statement from her.

It comes at a time when the Justice Secretary Michael Gove has called for non-payment of TV licences to be decriminalised due to the pressure it puts on courts.

Cases are normally dealt with in bulk as very few people turn up to court to defend themselves.

Mrs Jewell was ordered to pay a £200 fine for not having a colour licence on February 26, a £20 victim surcharge and £120 costs by chairman of the magistrates Christopher Hyson, who was sitting with two other justices.

A provisional inquest date for Mrs Jewell’s death has been set for December 2.

Hampshire Constabulary said a 55-year-old man from Southsea initially arrested over the death had been released with no further action. Detectives are not looking for anyone else.

The death remains classified as murder but has now been handed to the coroner.