Widower used dead wife’s disabled badge

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A widower who used his dead wife’s blue disabled badge instead of paying an 80p parking fee has ended up in court.

Michael Shirtliff, 31, displayed the permit, which belonged to his late wife Claire, a teacher at Carlton J&I School, South Elmsall, while parking on Northgate, Wakefield, on April 16.

Shirtliff, of Sycamore Copse, Wakefield, admitted a charge of blue badge misuse when he appeared at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday.

Wakefield Council prosecutor Jackie Banham told city magistrates how a civic patroller became suspicious after seeing the expiry date of 2011 appeared to have been altered to 2014. Enquiries showed the badge had been issued in 2008 and belonged to Mrs Shirtliff, 34, who died from a brain tumour last year.

Michael Shirtliff admitted parking the vehicle and gaining an advantage by displaying the blue badge on the dashboard. But he said he was unaware the expiry date had been altered.

Shirtliff told the court the offence was totally out of character, adding: “I think after everything I have been through I wouldn’t want to go through all this again all for the sake of paying 80p. It’s been a hard enough year as it is.”

He said he lost his wife last October and it was coming up to the anniversary. Shirtliff was ordered to pay £100 costs, £35 fine and a £20 victim surcharge.

Earlier this year Shirtliff vowed to continue his late wife’s charity work by running the Jane Tomlinson’s Leeds 10k.