A Fulham woman who claimed her dead dad was shopping while she illegally used his blue badge for free car parking has been fined at West London Magistrates Court.
40 year-old Michelle McGurk of Clifford Haigh House in Fulham Palace Road, was handed a £700 fine and ordered to pay £200 in costs to the council on August 30, after pleading guilty to misusing a blue badge.
This brings the number of people convicted in the last two years for fraudulently using blue badges to 157, and altogether they have been ordered to pay just under £90,000 in fines and costs.
McGurk had returned to her black BMW which was parked in a pay and display and permit bay opposite the Marks & Spencer store in Blacks Road, Hammersmith, on December 21 last year, to find Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s blue badge fraud officers waiting for her.
When asked who the owner of the disabled car parking badge was, she said it belonged to her father Patrick McGurk, who was in Marks & Spencer shopping with her sister.
Fraud officers offered to go into the shop with McGurk to find her father, but she quickly changed her mind and said he had gone home with her sister. But just as the suspicious officers were about to phone her sister, McGurk confessed that her elderly father had died ten months earlier, and the badge was seized.
Cllr Greg Smith, cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “This is a despicable crime that affects residents who genuinely need these car parking spaces. It is shameful that McGurk, whose own father had relied on the blue badge, misused it, and decided she shouldn’t have to pay - unlike all the decent and honest residents and visitors in our borough who do so.
”Our blue badge fraud team do an excellent job out on our streets, catching these people who know what they are doing is against the law but who continue to act selfishly anyway.”
The maximum fine for misusing a blue badge is £1,000 and magistrates are also able to ban people from driving.
September 8, 2011