Kerry Katona pleads guilty to failing to send child to school | Ents & Arts News

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Kerry Katona has been fined £500 after admitting failing to send one of her children to school.

The former Atomic Kitten singer had initially pleaded not guilty and had been expected to represent herself at trial.

However, she did not turn up to Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and a solicitor entered a guilty plea in her absence.

It is the second time the 38-year-old, who has five children, has been convicted of such an offence.

Kerry Katona officially opens The Hygrove, a new and exclusive sanctuary where members can recover from drug and alcohol addictions in peace and luxury, on May 3, 2018 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Antony Thompson for The Hygrove via Getty Images)
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Katona did not appear in court but admitted the charge through her solicitor

The court heard that Katona, of Crowborough, East Sussex, failed to send one of her children to school between April and November last year.

Prosecutor Gareth Jones, representing East Sussex County Council, told the court that, at the lowest point, the child’s attendance was 48%. Persistent absence in the UK is classed as when attendance falls below 90%.

Mr Jones said of Katona: “There’s a failure to engage here. She’s not attending meetings. Letters are not being responded to.

“This is a problem that has gone on for some time.”

Atomic Kitten - Kerry Katona, Liz McClarnon and Natasha Hamilton at the Disney Channel Kids Awards - 2000

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Katona (left) found fame with Atomic Kitten in the late 1990s

Ed Fish, defending, said some of the unauthorised absences were because Katona could not get childcare while she was working.

On other occasions she had not told the school the child – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was ill, the court was told.

Mr Fish said: “She understands it fell below what was expected of her.

“On occasions (the child) missed school due to Kerry Katona’s work commitments. She’s not had childcare and has to take the children to work.

“She understands she should maintain better contact with the school.

“The attendance has not been the worst [the court has seen].”

Katona was previously warned that she could be sent to jail when she failed to attend an earlier court hearing.

She had written to the court requesting an adjournment because she was taking part in a “paid event” in Scotland.

The court heard that Katona’s financial situation was “not great” and she had been subject to bankruptcy but she was “anxious” to provide for her children.

Katona was given 14 days to pay the fine as well as £325 in costs and a £100 surcharge.

Magistrates had initially handed her a fine of £1,000 but were forced to halve this after arguments from lawyers that this was the maximum penalty for the offence and they had not taken her guilty plea into account.

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