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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Council tax 'rebel' before court
Sylvia Hardy
Ms Hardy says she is prepared to go to prison again
A Devon pensioner has appeared in court for refusing to pay her council tax and vowed to go to prison for a second time rather than pay what she owes.

Sylvia Hardy,75, admitted owing 74 council tax to Exeter City Council when she appeared before city magistrates.

Magistrates made a liability order but costs of 35 requested by the council were not granted.

The chairman said: "We recognise you are on a restricted income. We are not going to order costs."

Mystery benefactor

Ms Hardy, from Barrack Road, Exeter, was accompanied to court by members of the Devon Pensioners Action Forum.

She was summoned over a shortfall in the 740 bill for her Band B two-bedroom flat.

Afterwards, the retired social worker said she would not pay and expected visits from the bailiffs before being brought back to court for non-payment at a future date.

The self-confessed rebel began her protest against council tax in 2004, when it rose by 18.5% and her pension increase was less than 3%.

In September 2005 she was sentenced to seven days in prison for withholding payment of 53.

But she was released after just two days when a mystery benefactor, calling himself Mr Brown, paid her outstanding bill.


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