Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Sunday, 11 September 2005 17:20 UK

No jail move for tax rebel vicar

The Reverend Alfred Ridley and his wife Una
Una Ridley said her level-headed husband was bearing up

A retired vicar, jailed for refusing to settle his council tax bill, has been told he will spend all his sentence in the high security Woodhill Prison.

Alfred Ridley, 71, from Towcester, Northants, has been told that because he is serving a short 28-day sentence it is not worth moving him.

Ridley was jailed on Wednesday by Towcester magistrates for ignoring a court order to pay the arrears.

On Sunday his wife Una Ridley said her husband did not mind Woodhill Prison.

"They said he will spend all the time in Milton Keynes. I don' t mind and neither does he because it is only half an hour for me to visit him," she said.

The staff are treating him well and are very polite and courteous
Una Ridley, Alfred Ridley's wife

Woodhill houses some of the most violent prisoners in the country.

Mrs Ridley said she visited her husband on Sunday and he was in a "bullish" mood having been to church that day.

She said: "He told me it was a good strong service with lots of modern hymns.

"The staff are treating him well and are very polite and courteous."

Ridley, a retired former Church of England clergyman, was jailed for ignoring a court order that he repay 691 in arrears to his local authority.

He had been given a suspended sentence in July but refused to comply with the court order to repay the money.

Not now liable

Ridley was told by Towcester Magistrates there was "no alternative" but to jail him.

The dispute arose when the council announced it was increasing its annual tax by 8.5% in one go. Ridley and his wife Una refused to pay a rise above the rate of inflation.

South Northants Council have now said that when he is released he will not be liable for the money.

Mrs Ridley revealed that another council tax protestor Sylvia Hardy from Exeter, who is also facing jail for non-payment, is to visit her husband at Woodhill on 20 September.

Tax rebel vicar is sent to jail
07 Sep 05 |  Northamptonshire
Rebel tax vicar could face jail
13 Jul 05 |  Northamptonshire
Tax rebel vicar ready for prison
18 May 05 |  Northamptonshire
Pair risk prison over council tax
08 Sep 04 |  Northamptonshire

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