The wife of Birmingham MP John Hemming has appeared in court accused of stealing a kitten belonging to her husband’s one-time mistress.
Christine Hemming, 52, is charged with burglary at the home of Emily Cox.
Birmingham magistrates heard how the alleged burglary took place on September 29 when Hemming went to Miss Cox’s house in Church Road, Moseley, at 7.40pm and stole the tabby kitten worth £20 called Beauty.
David Devine, prosecuting, said: “At the time there was a four-year-old child and an adult present in the house. The kitten had sentimental value to the four-year-old child.
“Because of the deliberate targeting of Miss Cox and the history between the two women, it must be dealt with at the crown court.”
When asked by magistrates if she wished to be referred as Mrs or Miss, Christine Hemming replied: “I’m not quite sure at the moment.”
Hemming, of Chantry Road, Moseley, did not enter a plea and magistrates ordered the case to go to crown court.
She was released on conditional bail to appear back at magistrates on December 16 for the committal hearing. The conditions of her bail are that she is not allowed to go to Miss Cox’s address or have any contact with her.
Millionaire John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Yardley, has had a colourful love life and once voted himself Love Rat of the Year in a newspaper poll.
In 2005 it emerged he had fathered a daughter, Isabel, with Miss Cox, a Lib Dem councillor for Birmingham’s Kings Heath and Moseley ward.
Mrs Hemming stood by her husband and later in newspaper interviews told how she had accepted Isabel as part of their family.
She has three children by Mr Hemming and is a senior partner of recruitment agency Diverse City Services.
The fate of the cat was not made clear in court, but a picture of the animal, was posted on Mr Hemming's blog under the heading "kitten missing" at 8.07am on Thursday.
The photograph was accompanied by a message which read: "If anyone has seen this kitten please contact me at the House of Commons. There is a reward for its return."
Liberal Democrat Mr Hemming, who described his domestic status as "an unclear situation", said: "I would just like the cat back.
"I have spent some time looking for the kitten and there is a reward for the safe return of the kitten. Her brother Twinkle is pining for her."