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Air cleared of parking permit fraud

Model and TV presenter Donna Air has been acquitted of fraud by a jury which took just 20 minutes to reach its verdict.

Air thanked the jurors at Isleworth Crown Court in west London as she left the dock.

Following her acquittal, defence barrister Benn Maguire told the court the trial had caused Air pain and heartache, and she had not been able to travel to America since the fraud charge had been brought.

The court heard that she had applied for a parking permit in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, despite already having a permit for the City of Westminster. It is against council regulations for a person to have two permits for the same vehicle in different London boroughs, the court was told.

Following the verdict, Miss Air said she was very glad the case was over.

She said: "I have never been in a court and it's very scary to be accused of something you have not done. It's an experience I will not forget in a hurry and I am very pleased the jury saw what the dynamics of this case were about very quickly.

"I am going to see my little girl and give her a big cuddle as mummy's been stuck here for no reason."

She added that any celebrations would have to go on hold as she had more work to do, and that a glass of wine would have to wait until the weekend.

She said: "I think the fact that there have been no other prosecutions speaks volumes. As a taxpayer myself (I think) there are better ways to use of funds - when I think of the knife crime in the area I live in, and they are using public money on this."

Mr Maguire told the court it was rare for a jury to come back so rapidly. He said: "This case was nothing less than a disgrace, to put Miss Air through the horror of a prosecution for this matter. Had this jury found her guilty this would have been the end of her."

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