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Wheelchair user had run-in with the cops

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A DISABLED rights crusader persistently flouted an Asbo by blocking traffic, a court heard.

Maria Whitefield, 26, of Inglewood Mews, West Norwood, most recently breached the antisocial behaviour order by blocking a bus in Denmark Hill on July 10 this year.

In June, she also blocked traffic in Lambeth Palace Road.

Prosecutor at Blackfriars Crown Court Gabrielle McAvock said of the most recent incident: “Police attended and she was abusive to officers.”

She said the defendant had used strong language to one officer, reached for his car and grabbed the windscreen wiper, declaring: “You will have to run me over to leave now.”

Ms McAvock said: “The officer took her hand off the wiper and told her to stop being so silly.”

Whitefield first hit the headlines in 2005 when she parked up in front of buses during a demonstration to demand fair access to public transport for handicapped people.

The activist has since racked up an extensive criminal record in her campaign for disabled rights.

She was due to be sentenced on Wednesday but the sentencing was postponed for a psychiatric report to be prepared.

Allan Birkbeck, defending, said Whitefield had serious mental health problems and had been sectioned in the past.

He said: “This is a case of repetition of offending and severe public nuisance and public cost – the very real history of a terrible physical condition and a large number of offences committed from 19 onwards.”

Judge John Hillen said: “It’s a bit more than a nuisance with the traffic being blocked on these two matters I’m dealing with. Ultimately I’m concerned with the protection of the public and, if that can be achieved with an effective care plan, then so be it.

“Miss Whitefield has mental health problems and there is, as a result of recent information, a possibility of a fresh diagnosis and a fresh care plan – either hospitalisation or in the community.”

Whitefield has 34 previous convictions for 120 offences, including common assault, criminal damage, battery and public order offences.

The campaigner, who suffers from a rare brain condition, has also used her wheelchair to obstruct buses and prevent access to lifts.

Whitefield admitted breaching her Asbo. She was released on conditional bail ahead of sentence on December 13.


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Comments on this news item:

1 comments on this news item

Posted by : Janice, Camberwell | Monday 18/Nov/2013 | Report this comment

I think if she has serious mental problem she should had a carer with her at least. To tell her about the dangers she was facing

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