Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Mum Accused of Letting Son Play Truant as He Lay in Hospital

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Mum Accused of Letting Son Play Truant as He Lay in Hospital

Article excerpt

A GRIEVING mother who faced jail after she was accused of letting her child play truant from school has been cleared of wrongdoing after it emerged he was being treated in hospital for a string of severe asthma attacks.

Nicola Newns, 39, had already lost one son Ben, 12, to the condition in 2014 - and so was in fear for her other son Jacob, 16, who repeatedly collapsed at home.

But while Mrs Newns was in an ambulance rushing the youngster to intensive care, she says she got a call from education officials demanding to know why he was not in lessons.

Later she was issued with a £60 fixed penalty notice by Salford City Council, saying Jacob's attendance at Buile Hill Visual Arts College was 'unsatisfactory' and saying he had been absent without authority 20 times between January and March.

A letter also said 'no acceptable reason' had been given for the absences. When Mrs Newns refused to pay, she was ordered to face court and accused of an offence under the 1996 Education Act, which if convicted could have put her in prison for up to three months.

But a district judge at Manchester magistrates court reviewed the medical evidence and threw the case out, ahead of it being heard, when it transpired Jacob was in hospital on ALL 20 occasions.

I may not have the school should have going to leave bedside if Mum Nicola A legal document presented to court included an email from an education official claiming Mrs Newns had not responded to calls, adding: "We rang her again after half-term and when she finally answered she was in an ambulance with Jacob on the way to hospital as he'd had an asthma attack.

"We've left two voicemails this week and mum hasn't returned our calls as yet."

Mrs Newns from Salford, said: "I am over-protective of Jacob but can anyone blame me after what happened with Ben? Jacob was really affected by what happened to his brother and was asking if it would be him next.

"He has had anxiety and panic attacks and we worry it might trigger a similar attack which killed Ben. …

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