MAKING a call for directions from her car on a mobile phone — which she later hid in her knickers — led to a suspended prison sentence for a Stukeley Meadows woman. It may also cost her job in the benefits section of Huntingdonshire District Council, a co

MAKING a call for directions from her car on a mobile phone - which she later hid in her knickers - led to a suspended prison sentence for a Stukeley Meadows woman.

It may also cost her job in the benefits section of Huntingdonshire District Council, a court heard.

Florentine Booth-King, 42, of Knipe Close, was on her way to a job interview at nearby Ermine Business Park but did not know where the firm was, John Goodier told Huntingdonshire magistrates.

"She did not know where the firm was and used her mobile phone to find the exact location."

But she was seen by Pc David Bullock outside Justinian House - the headquarters of Cambridgeshire Crown Prosecution Service - who ordered her to stop so that he could issue a £30 fixed penalty notice.

She denied having a mobile, invited the constable to find it and accused him of racial discrimination for stopping her.

She drove off twice for a short distance before getting out of her car, Mr Goodier said. "As the officer started to write out the notice, she grabbed his pen and stabbed him in the cheek with it. When he called for assistance, she began to scream 'He's attacking me'."

A female police sergeant arrived and found the instrument down the front of Bootha-King's knickers after she had denied that it was there, he added.

Pc Bullock said in a victim statement that he had lost money as a result of the injury and being unable to work additional shifts on his own.

"This incident has shattered my confidence in myself. I'm over-cautious and worry constantly about violence," Mr Goodier read.

Bootha-King admitted using a hand-held phone while driving and obstructing the officer. She had denied assaulting him in the execution of his duty but had been convicted by magistrates at a previous hearing.

"The court found her allegation of a racist motive unfounded," the prosecutor told the court.

Bootha-King was sentenced to six months imprisonment for the assault, suspended for a year and ordered to do 120 hours' unpaid work in the community and to pay £300 compensation to the officer and £200 court costs.

For obstructing the officer she was given one month concurrent, suspended for a year, with no separate penalty for using the phone.

In mitigation for the mother-of-two, Randeep Kainth told the court she continued to deny the assault and hinted that she might appeal. She had admitted obstruction on the basis that she had lied to the police, not that she had attempted to drive off.

He said she did extensive voluntary work in the community, as well as being a youth leader.

"This was an isolated incident and the chances of repetition are extremely remote. She is not a wicked lady," he added.

Any custodial sentence would be likely to result in her losing her council job, Mr Kainth said.

* A spokesman for HDC said every case was considered on its merits, but one category of gross misconduct was bringing the authority into disrepute. "We regard assaulting a police officer as a serious matter," she added.