Woman flees town on hotel fraud charges
A MIDDLE-aged single mum's troubled few weeks of crime in Roma, Stanthorpe and Kingaroy has been heard in Dalby Magistrates Court.
Sonia May Thompson, 47, appeared dishevelled as magistrate Roger Stark arraigned her on the five charges she had racked up across southwest Queensland.
Thompson faced charges of fraud, contravening police, and driving an unregistered and uninsured car while unlicensed as a repeat offender.
Police prosecutor senior constable Jodie Tahana told the court of Thompson's first offence between January 4-9 at the School of Arts Hotel in Roma.
The court heard the defendant had arrived at the premises with her partner on January 4 and paid $50 for a night, indicating she would be staying longer.
"She stayed a further three nights from Sunday January 5 to Tuesday January 7, then on January 8 the manager located dogs in the room," snr const Tahana said.
"Subsequently the defendant was evicted and asked to pay the remaining $150 owed for the three nights stay."
The court heard Thompson then became angry, and packed up her belongings and left without making payment.
Police spoke to the defendant on January 8, with Thompson saying she had left to get money to pay for the accommodation, but was waiting for her Centrelink payment to come through.
Roma police were contacted by the manager stating the defendant didn't return to pay for her bill.
Thompson was located by Stanthorpe police on January 11, and stated she had only stayed in Roma for three nights but the manager told her she owed money for six nights.
"She spoke to Roma police about making payment for three nights, but when asked why she didn't make the payment she stated she didn't have cardless cash," snr const Tahana said.
"She did not return to make that payment, and was given a notice to appear with the victim witness seeking $150 for that offence."
Thompson was then arrested when she failed to attend the Stanthorpe police station to provide DNA and identifying particulars in seven days.
The court heard she was found on March 7 and told police she was homeless and had car troubles, which affected her ability to attend the station.
She was subsequently charged with contravening the direction of police and given a notice to appear.
The court heard of her driving offences on April 23 where she was intercepted on Haly St in Kingaroy for a licence check.
Snr Const Tahana told the court she had been caught driving an uninsured, and unregistered car, on an unexpired licence.
She was subsequently given a notice to appear.
Duty lawyer Claire Graham told the court the mother of two had issues with homelessness, and had been moving around the region due to accommodation shortages.
Ms Graham said it was an early plea of guilty, citing her last criminal entry back in 2016.
Thompson pleaded guilty to all charges and was fined $300 for fraud, and ordered to pay $150 compensation.
For the driving offences she was fined $400 and disqualified from driving 1 month for the unlicensed charge, and then fined $533 for driving uninsured.
For contravening police she was fined $100.
Convictions were recorded.