Woman fined £12,000 for birthday party on day after Downing Street events

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Vianna McKenzie-Bramble
Vianna McKenzie-Bramble

A woman who was fined £12,000 for hosting a birthday party on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral has accused the Government of "double standards" after the Telegraph revealed Downing Street held two parties just hours before.

While officers hauled Vianna McKenzie-Bramble before a court for inviting 40 people to her 27th birthday in Hackney, east London, on Apr 17 last year, police have said any criminal investigation into the Downing Street parties would depend on the findings from Sue Gray.

On the same day, the Queen sat alone at St George's Chapel for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral service, in line with strict social distancing rules.

Government guidance at the time restricted funerals to 30 mourners and required people from separate households to sit two-metres apart. Socialising indoors with other households was banned, while outdoors a group of six people or two households could meet.

'Vianna being so blasé about such a large and illegal event is unacceptable'

At the time, Police Constable Lindsey England said: "I explained to Vianna that there needed to be consequences for her actions, namely organising such a large gathering during a time where there is still such a significant risk to public health.

"On this day in particular it was the funeral of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

"The country is in mourning and only limited members of his close family were able to attend the ceremony.

"Vianna being so blasé about organising such a large and illegal event for her 27th birthday party is totally unacceptable and disrespectful in light of everything that is going on in the world."

Officers arrived at Ms McKenzie-Bramble's party after members of the public complained about a big Covid rule-breaking party, according to the witness statement.

Police found a marquee and a bouncy castle had been set up in her friend's back garden where groups of people, "none of whom were wearing masks or social distancing", were "gathering in groups much larger than six".

Ms McKenzie-Bramble has accused the Government of "double standards" following the Telegraph's exposé of Downing Street parties held last year.

She told the Telegraph: "It's obviously double standards. I don't work in Government, so I can't bend the rules like them.

"Of course that's not right. They had a party, and I had a party and got fined £12,000, and they haven't.

"It's a lot of money to pay for a fine. I didn't actually go to court for it. They just actually did it without me there.

"It's going to be difficult for me to pay it, but if it's going to get me in trouble for not paying it, I will definitely pay.

"I don't want the debt collectors to come and seize my assets just for the money.

"But if I don't have to pay that will be even better because I have like four children and stuff like that."

Ms McKenzie-Bramble was ordered to pay a £12,000 fine within 28 days, as well as a £190 victims' fund surcharge and £110 in court costs, at a closed courtroom hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 29 2021.

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