A Swindon man who owes more than £14,000 in unpaid child maintenance has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Daniel Gordon, 31, admitted neglecting to pay an ex-partner money towards his two children as requested by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Appearing at Swindon Magistrates’ Court this morning (21 January), the defendant, of Sheldon Street, Badbury Park, faced up to 42 days imprisonment for the offence.
The court heard that he has unpaid child maintenance debts of over £12,460 – though this outstanding amount was not part of today’s proceedings.
DWP prosecutor Ms Smith-Lee said a financial investigation of Gordon’s bank accounts showed £18,628.30 was deposited between 1 April and 4 October last year.
Future probes revealed that more than £7,000 of that cash had been spent on non-essential products – including fast food, entertainment, high street shop and leisure.
Chief magistrate Natalie O’Connell told Gordon – who earns £800 per week – that he must pay £18 per week to clear the debt within two years, and pay £89.42 per week towards the children going forward.
She imposed a 42-day prison sentence suspended for two years. The sentence will be activated if Gordon fails to stick to the agreement.
“You are now in the dock looking at a going to prison. You’ve got income, we’ve heard it, and you’re not paying anything”, Ms O’Connell exclaimed.
On hearing how much money was outstanding, she continued: “Engagement with child maintenance services is crucial, otherwise you’re going to custody later anyway.
“You know that you have to start engaging and start paying the amounts you owe.
“We find this awful. You have not engaged with child maintenance services at all. You are going to be stuck in a revolving door, coming in time after time, if you do not engage.
“If you do not pay any of the £18 per week payments to maintenance services, you will obviously be sent to custody, that’s prison, for 42 days.”
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