Domestic abuse victim threatened with arrest after refusing to give address to court
A VICTIM of domestic abuse has been left devastated after a warrant was issued for her arrest for refusing to disclose her address in open court.
Eve Thomas, aged 45, was left horrified when a court official threatened her with 14 days in prison when she asked not to release her address at a small claims court hearing.
She explained her past, where she endured 21 years of physical and emotional abuse from her ex-husband Michael Aldred, and offered to give the information in a sealed envelope — but the official refused this and said she was being “awkward”.
She had been summoned to court for a small claims matter involving a former friend — who is currently also on bail for allegedly assaulting Ms Thomas on her doorstep.
The mother-of-two, who campaigns for victims of domestic violence through One Voice and has released a book about her ordeal called 50 Shades of Abuse, fears that a criminal record will prevent her from doing any more charity work.
Ms Thomas, who lives in Astley Bridge, said: “If I was a convicted child abuser my address could be automatically concealed so that they wouldn’t be targeted.
“But me, a victim of abuse, is being threatened with prison. I’m in total shock.
“I feel really sorry for my daughters who are in bits not knowing whether their mum will be sent to prison.
“It could ruin everything that I have worked on in the past two years.” Ms Thomas was summoned to the small claims court in June by her former friend saying she owed her £450 for a purchase in her catalogue — but says she missed the opportunity to defend herself because the “domestic violence block” on her letter box meant she’d missed two previous letters.
She said: “The court official asked me for my name and age, which I gave them, and then they asked me for my phone number and my address and I explained that I couldn’t give those details out and explained my history and he said I was being awkward and he threatened me with prison.”
Ms Thomas suffered 21 years of physical and emotional abuse from her ex-husband Michael Aldred, who was convicted of battery in 2011 and given a suspended sentence.
She appeared in court again on August 20 armed with a six-page statement about her past to explain why she could not give up her address.
She said: “I went to court, this time taking a witness, and again I was threatened with 14 days in prison.
“Thankfully the other party wasn’t there because she was on bail for assaulting me.
“But despite this I was also asked to give up my flee address, which is my safe house — an address that no one knows about but me. I was devastated.
“Whatever happens, if the court says I need to release the information I can’t do it. I’ll have to go to prison.”
An HMCTS spokesman said: “The defendant in these proceedings has been given a number of opportunities to pay her outstanding debt. She has refused to do this, and has failed to comply with the court's attempts to arrange payment following the judgment against her.
“As she refuses to return to court to explain her reasons to a judge, we have no option but to issue a warrant for her arrest.”
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