THE wife of a Birmingham millionaire MP who has been accused of breaking into the home of her husband’s mistress and stealing her kitten has admitted taking the pet – and said it was a mistake.
Christine Hemming, 52, married to Lib Dem MP John Hemming, has offered to buy Emily Cox a new cat to replace the tabby called Beauty, which is still missing.
Mrs Hemming appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with burglary at Miss Cox’s home and taking the £20 kitten.
Miss Cox, aged 32, is the mother of ‘love rat’ Mr Hemming’s child, a girl called Isabel, now four.
Speaking after the court hearing Mrs Hemming said: “In retrospect it was a mistake. I put myself in harm’s way. I walked into this,” she said. “Now I have to be realistic and take solid steps to protect myself and my family.”
Christine, who still lives with John at their luxury house on Chantry Road, Moseley, added: “I would like to make it up with the offer of another cat. It was only a young cat, as I understand it and a relationship had not developed that much. I’m prepared to buy a similar kitten.
The court yesterday heard how Hemming has been charged with going to Miss Cox’s house, also in Moseley, at 7.40pm on September 29, and stealing the kitten.
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.”
She 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. She is not allowed to go to Miss Cox’s address or have contact with her.
Millionaire John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Yardley, who was elected as an MP in 2005, told the Birmingham Mail of his and Miss Cox’s distress over the kitten. On his online blog he has posted a picture of Beauty with the caption: “Kitten missing – If anyone has seen this kitten please contact me at the House of Commons. There is a reward for its return.”
He said he did not know what state his relationship was in with his wife.
“This situation does apply a challenge to any relationship, however strong,” he said. “I’ve no idea where Beauty is. I’ve posted the picture on my blog because we are desperate to find her.”
Mr Hemming said the kitten was Isabel’s.
‘‘Beauty has a brother called Twinkle who is pining for her, as is Isabel.
“I know this is a dream story for newspapers: the MP, his wife, his girlfriend and a kitten – but it is very serious because there is a kitten missing out there.”
Mr Hemming, has had a colourful love life and once voted himself Love Rat of the Year in a newspaper poll.
News of Miss Cox’s affair with Mr Hemming first emerged in 2005. At the time Mrs Hemming told the Mail how her husband had a string of liaisons with other women, claiming Miss Cox was “about number 26”.
But Mr Hemming said he was still romantically involved with Miss Cox, a Lib Dem councillor for Birmingham’s Kings Heath and Moseley ward, and had been for the past 11 years.
“She is my girlfriend and has been for 11 years,” he said.
“All this talk about me having had 26 affairs is utter rubbish – Christine just plucked that figure out of the air because the 26th is her birthday.” Mrs Hemming stood by her husband and later told how his wife had accepted Isabel as part of their family.
Mrs Hemming has three children by the MP and is a senior partner of recruitment agency Diverse City Services.