Troubled former X-Factor contestant avoids jail after skipping probation following cancer woman fraud

Paige Flaherty leaving South Tyneside Magistrates Court
Paige Flaherty leaving South Tyneside Magistrates Court

A troubled former X-factor contestant has kept her freedom despite taking a trip to the capital instead of attending a probation appointment.

Paige Flaherty was given a suspended prison sentence in December after she stole a stranger’s phone when she stayed at his home last June and took £200 from his mother’s purse.

She had also used a family friend’s bank details to get a iPhone contract while the woman was in hospital having cancer tests.

Newcastle Crown Court heard since the sentence was imposed, the 21-year-old has been attending appointments regularly and carried out 89 or the 100 hours of unpaid work she was ordered to do.

But instead of attending one of her probation appointments in the summer, she went away on a trip and told no-one.

Her barrister John Wilkinson told the court: “She went away to London for a holiday on June 30.

“She shouldn’t have done. She should at least have checked with the solicitors about dates.

“She has attended supervision appointments, has done a programme and the bulk of the unpaid work.

“I don’t think this is a flagrant breach.”

Judge Edward Bindloss punished Flaherty’s absence at the probation appointment by imposing a two week curfew from 9pm to 7am.

The judge said: “On June 30 you went to London without telling anyone and failed to attend probation.

“I have the power to send you to prison for up to six months.

“I am not going to do that because of the other positive work you have done.

“I am going to give you a chance.”

Flaherty, of Fife Avenue, Jarrow, was warned to keep all further appointments and complete the rest of the unpaid work.

She has previously been given a suspended jail term for knocking down a pedestrian in a stolen car.

Flaherty’s former band ‘Twisted’ hit the headlines after the then X-Factor judge Kelly Rowland told band member Chrissie Pitt, from South Shields, South Tyneside, to ditch the rest of the band and continue as a solo artist.

Miss Pitt chose to leave the girl group, leaving the other members furious and out of the competition.