Single mum summoned to court SIX YEARS after parking charge issued

Donna Davies, inset, was three months pregnant when she was issued with fine for overstaying at Riverside car park

Donna Davies, inset, was three months pregnant when she was issued with fine for overstaying at Riverside car park - Credit: Donna Davies/Google Street View

A single mum who believed a parking charge she received six years ago had been waived has spoken of her horror at finding a court summons on her doormat.

Veterinary receptionist Donna Davies is beside herself since the charge resurfaced just before Christmas last year.

In October 2015 she was three months pregnant with her daughter Sienna after a struggle with infertility.

The "over the moon" mum-to-be excitedly visited Norwich's Riverside retail park to buy baby essentials.

But in her elation she lost track of time and went over the parking limit. 

A fine for £70 appeared in the post two weeks later.

Donna Davies when she was pregnant with her daughter, Sienna

Donna Davies when she was pregnant with her daughter, Sienna - Credit: Supplied by Donna Davies

She said: "I got a letter through the door saying that I had been issued with a fine. I called them up, apologised and explained the situation.

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"I'd spent £1,000 that day. They said that if I could send my receipts, prove it was a genuine mistake and I had been in the vicinity, they would get back to me."

Keeping her fingers crossed as she waited for her little one to arrive, the Little Plumstead mum claims she was thrilled when the fine was cancelled. 

She explained: "They then said that they would waive it this time.

"I was really relieved."

A second letter appeared the following month saying the mum-of-one needed to pay the fine. 

Baffled, she contacted the company saying it had been waived and never heard back.

Donna Davies with her daughter Sienna, now six

Donna Davies with her daughter Sienna, now six - Credit: Supplied by Donna Davies

But in October 2021 she received the stomach-dropping news that she was being taken to court.

She exclaimed: "I was so shocked. I had to call the court up to see if it was genuine, I was that taken aback."

The courts offered to put her through mediation.

Then in January 2022 she was told she would have to appear in court in April.

She added: "My anxiety is through the roof. I'm so worried. 

"I'm on my own with a little girl. I'm struggling enough at it is - even without what they're trying to throw at me. It's so upsetting.

"I thought this matter had been sorted six years ago.

"I've had sleepless nights because of it."

On arriving at court, she was told that her case had been adjourned.

Donna said her only evidence six years on is her daughter Sienna

Donna said her only evidence six years on is her daughter Sienna - Credit: Donna Davies

Then, this week, she was notified that she was being taken to County Court this summer - and that there was no record of the initial adjournment. 

Donna said: "I had cleared the matter up and had the letter to prove it. I didn't think I would need that letter almost seven years on.

"The only evidence I have is my six-year-old little girl.

"I'm heartbroken. It's having a massive impact on me.

"The biggest upset for me is that I did everything I was asked to do.

"Facing court is the scariest thing. This is one of the most upsetting things I've ever been through."

Highview Parking, which operates Riverside car park, did not respond to a request for comment.

Don't pay an unfair fine, Money Saving Expert says

Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert says that if drivers get an unfair ticket in a private car park, don't automatically pay it.

The site suggests to view them merely as invoices, which are often unenforceable.

The site added:

  • Don't think of private parking tickets as 'fines'
    Private parking companies have no official right to fine you, though they may try to make you think they do.
    All they're doing is sending you a notice of what they deem to be a breach of contract.
  • Gather as much evidence as possible

    Unclear signs, bay markings or lines, as well as where your car was, the meter and your ticket are all worth grabbing snaps of.
    Keep correspondence you've been sent from the company and copies of any information you have sent off.
    Also keep anything relevant such as receipts, and gather witness statements if anyone will corroborate your story.