A Nottinghamshire woman who posed as a solicitor for a custody battle has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Susan Tindall led her victim to believe she was acting for him for 11 months in the family courts after being introduced through a mutual acquaintance.

Tindall led the man to believe she was taking his case on as private work to save him the fees her office would charge, and advised him on his separation from his partner and access arrangements for his two children.

The bogus solicitor even created a stamp to look as if she had received documentation from a family court, and provided forged court orders, asking for £200 for court fees.

In reality, there was no office and Tindall was not qualified to act on anyone’s behalf. No work was being done to help the victim with his circumstances and Tindall told him not to contact parties acting for his ex-partner, meaning he did not contribute to those proceedings.

It was only when she admitted she was not a solicitor did the victim realise the impact of the deception: he was significantly behind on all negotiations in relation to his separation, in particular maintenance for and access to his children.

Tindall pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court (pictured) to fraud by false representation and making articles for use in fraud and forgery.

She was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 90 hours of unpaid work.

Stephen Hill, senior crown prosecutor at CPS East Midlands said: ‘It is not clear why Susan Tindall did what she did, but her actions have had a detrimental effect on the victim in several ways.

‘While he thought that the litigation was being properly dealt with on his behalf, nothing was in fact being done, leading the court, his ex-wife and children to the conclusion that he was being obstructive.

‘Tindall’s deception has had a damaging impact on his work and personal life, but above all his relationship with his children.’