Danniella Westbrook gets off Spanish petrol fine scot-free
EXCLUSIVE: Danniella Westbrook has got away scot-free despite Spanish fraud conviction for leaving a garage without paying for petrol – due to a legal loophole
- The former Eastenders star was pulled aside by police last month in Ibiza
- This came after she was convicted over not paying for 36 euros of fuel in 2018
Danniella Westbrook has got away scot-free despite being convicted of fraud by a Spanish court after driving away from a garage without paying for a tank of petrol.
The former Eastenders star was pulled aside by police last month after she jetted to Ibiza, later saying she was confronted by gun-wielding officers within minutes of landing on the island and taken into a room at the airport.
She has since spoken of the terrifying ordeal and of her fears she would be arrested and thrown in prison – and her worry that the 36 euros she failed to pay for fuel back in 2018 could have rocketed up to 3,000 euros with fines.
The 49-year-old also claimed she had been told to return to Spain in three weeks and make the payment by a payment plan after trying to sort it out with different courts.
But today officials at the small court in Velez Rubio in the province of Almeria near the garage she drove off from on July 22, 2017 said her fraud conviction was now spent because of a legal loophole and she wouldn’t be made to pay anything.
Danniella Westbrook (pictured outside a courthouse in Spain last month) has got away scot-free despite being convicted of fraud by a Spanish court after driving away from a garage without paying for a tank of petrol
Danniella was first arrested by police in 2018 and detained for 14 hours over a driving offence, before being convicted of fraud for failing to pay the 36 euros of petrol.
The soap star had failed to pay for the petrol put into her hire care at a motorway stop during her last time in the country five years ago, and she was convicted of a minor fraud offence in October 2018 despite a no-show at the court.
At the time, the bizarre night was played out in front of four people inside a courtroom including the judge and garage owner.
They heard how the actress emptied her handbag out on the counter of a nearby family-owned service station before telling staff she had no money.
Dad-of-two Serafino Reche, then 44, told the hearing he reported Danniella to police on July 24, 2018 – two days after she drove off from the Galp petrol station he ran at the time with his brother Antonio off the A-92 motorway in Chirivel.
The mum-of-two, prosecuted under her former married name Danniella Jenkins, was ordered to repay the 36 euros and fined 300 euros in her absence.
The fine conditions involved the payment of three euros a day for a month.
And the actress was also warned in a four-page sentencing document that she would face a day in jail for every two days’ unpaid fine.
However, as the situation was never properly resolved, she was confronted by police last month and – as a result – was ordered to face Spanish court on the mainland.
But today, legal sources confirmed the sentence was now spent because officials had not been able to formally notify her of her punishment within a year of its issue.
One said: ‘That means the sentence has been archived for her and she no longer has any criminal responsibility in this matter.’
Spanish police sources confirmed the Ibiza interception, which was not an arrest, was the result of a court-issued residence inquiry relating to the unpaid petrol.
Garage owner Mr Reche told Westbrook’s trial in her absence: ‘She came in and emptied her handbag on the counter and said she had no money. She left a foreign driving licence and said she’d pay later but I never heard from her again.’
The former Eastenders star was pulled aside by police last month after she jetted to Ibiza, later saying she was confronted by gun-wielding officers within minutes of landing on the island and taken into a room at the airport
He admitted after the hearing he had no idea Westbrook was an actress who once entertained millions in a famous BBC soap.
He also confessed he had little hope of ever being paid.
But he added at the time: ‘Hopefully the bad publicity she’ll get from this will shame her into paying me.
‘I think she knew she had no money before she filled her car up with petrol from the way she turned her bag upside down the moment she got to the counter.
‘It’s incredible to think of all the hassle she’s caused me and herself over such a small amount of money because she would have had to apply for a new driving licence to replace the one she left behind.
‘I had a friend’s funeral to attend this morning and was worried at one point I wouldn’t make it when the court case didn’t start on time.
‘Having to take time out to deal with things like this is an unnecessary inconvenience when I’ve got a family business to run and two young children to look after.
‘But I went through with this because people like her shouldn’t think they can get away with it.
‘Even if I don’t end up getting my money back, hopefully it will make this woman think twice before trying it on again next time.’
Danniella was held over the unpaid fuel bill when her name flagged up on a police database at passport control as she went to board a flight back to the UK on April 23 2018, the last time she was in Spain before the airport confrontation last month.
She was hauled to court in Malaga after a night in a police cell – but released after being told a criminal complaint had already been lodged with the court in Velez Rubio and she had to turn up for trial there.
Pals wrongly claimed after her Malaga detention she had been held over an alleged driving offence.
It was upon entering Spain again in August that she was confronted by armed police, and told that she needed to visit a court on the mainland to resolve the matter.
She later flew to Alicante where she visited a court there, but was met with further confusion when she was told she was at the wrong courthouse, and had to go to one in Murcia instead,
‘We went to the court in Alicante and they referred us to the court in Mercia but we can’t go back until mid-September to sort it out, which I will do,’ she told the Mirror.
It appears this will no longer be necessary.
On Sunday Danniella took to her Instagram Stories to call out her daughter Jodie for blocking her on the social media platform.
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