Lotto claim gran denies stealing purse on way to blind date
A grandmother who staked a failed claim to a £33 million National Lottery prize has denied ever seeing a purse she is alleged to have stolen from a pensioner's home.
Susanne Hinte, who hit the headlines after her Lotto ticket was reportedly damaged in a washing machine, has pleaded not guilty to stealing £55 while en route to a blind date.
The Crown claims Hinte, of Borrowdale Drive, Warndon, Worcester, took a purse containing the cash and two bank cards after calling at the home of 73-year-old Susan Kirby on January 3 last year.
Giving evidence to a trial at Birmingham Magistrates' Court, Hinte told JPs she had gone into Mrs Kirby's bungalow to ask if she could charge her mobile phone.
Claiming to have been "in distress" at being unable to find the address of her date, who lived nearby, Hinte estimated that she spent about 15 minutes in Mrs Kirby's kitchen.
The divorced mother-of-two, a trained nurse, told the court: "My main concern was that I was just praying and hoping that the phone would work.
"I didn't see her purse."
The 48-year-old grandmother-of-four showed magistrates clothing she was wearing at the time of the alleged offence, including a black cardigan and leggings.
Telling the bench the clothing had no pockets which could have concealed a purse, Hinte said she was very grateful to the pensioner for her assistance and remained thankful to her.
Magistrates heard that records showed Hinte had £1,832.44 in her current account on the day she visited her alleged victim.
Asked by prosecutor Muhammad Awan if she had seen the purse in the victim's kitchen, Hinte replied: "I never once stood behind this lady.
"Why would I be looking for anything like that when I am in distress? All I wanted to do by then is go home. I was virtually in tears."
A second count of theft, alleging that Hinte stole an Xbox controller from a man she met through a dating app, was dropped after he declined to attend court.
Hinte, who has a serious heart complaint, was granted unconditional bail to return to court on May 10.