A WOMAN who was charged with faking a robbery at a social club in South Tyneside has been found dead.
Kim Collins, 42, was found slumped in her car by a dog walker early on Saturday morning in a car park in East Boldon.
Ms Collins was at the centre of a long-running court case in which she was alleged to have faked a terrifying late-night raid at The Big Club, in Station Road, Boldon Colliery, in June last year.
She later admitted wasting police time and a court heard the fake heist at the club, which she ran with her partner, had been inspired by US crime show CSI.
The club landlady claimed she had been bound and gagged by a masked raider when she was discovered tied to a chair by a cleaner at the club.
The court heard that she admitted making the whole thing up in a bid to convince her partner that they should sell up the club and move away.
In November, on the day she was due to be sentenced, the court was told she wished to change her plea to not guilty.
She has since been due in court several times to formally ask to change her plea but on each occasion her solicitor said she was not well enough to attend.
Yesterday, friends and family of Ms Collins, a former pupil at Boldon School, wished to make no comment on the tragedy.
Alan Crooks, landlord of Boldon’s Travelling Man pub, said: “I knew Kim really well.
“This is a very sad thing to have happened, and our condolences are with Kim’s family.”
A dog walker alerted police at 5am on Saturday after seeing a woman slumped in the driving seat of a car parked near East Boldon Library, in Boker Lane.
A North East Ambulance spokeswoman said: “We were called to the scene at 5.05am by the police. We sent out a rapid response unit and arrived at 5.10am. We found a woman unconscious in her car.”
It is understood Ms Collins was found to be dead at the scene.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “We received a call at 5am on Saturday from a member of the public who was out walking his dog when he saw a car in the car park at East Boldon Library on Boker Lane.
“There was a female slumped on the driving seat.”
A report on Ms Collins’s death has been sent to the coroner.