I was slapped with a £60 parking fine for a ticket while I was in labour…parking said no excuse

A first time mum was given a £60 parking fine while in hospital giving birth.

Molly Smith, 24, was stunned to find the penalty notice slapped on her engine, which was parked directly outside the maternity ward at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

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First time mum Molly Smith was fined during childbirthCredit: Hyde News & Pictures
Fiance Lewis Gray was told he parked in an invalid spot

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Fiance Lewis Gray was told he parked in an invalid spotCredit: provided

But car park bosses said her fiancé Lewis Gray, 25, left their car in an invalid space as he rushed his partner into the service.

The couple claim they had “no choice” as the only four spaces were taken and the main car park was a five-minute walk away.

Molly, who gave birth just 30 minutes after their arrival, insisted: “There was no way I could walk from the main car park.

“Evie’s head was already down and out. I was giving birth in the car.

“When we entered the maternity ward, I was holding on to the wall while Lewis carried our bags.

“He was opening doors and trying to find a nurse to get a wheelchair.

“There was no way I could walk. It was like when you ice skate but you’re not very good so you hold on to the side to stay upright.”

Parking inspectors gave him a ticket 12 minutes after Evie was born – and Lewis saw it when he went to move the car just 10 minutes after it was given away.

Officials at parking company APCOA rejected her appeal last week and, without congratulating Evie on the birth, said they should have read the terms and conditions.

They added that it was up to him to find valid alternative parking off-site if all the spaces, designed for people in labor, were full.

Molly, who was in excruciating pain at the time, accepted the car was not parked in a valid space but insisted it was in exceptional circumstances.

They parked in suitable spaces when they went to the hospital for Molly’s mild contractions in the early hours of the day when she could walk.

The administrative worker at family business Aborfield Tree Care added that they would have parked properly again if spaces were available.

We had no choice. There was no way I could walk from the main parking lot.

Molly Smith

She arrived at the maternity ward with Lewis at 10:30 a.m., gave birth at 11:02 a.m. and was ticketed at 11:14 a.m.

She said: “Our labor went very quickly, and as it was our first baby, we didn’t know what to expect. We had to leave the car right outside.”

The Royal Berkshire Hospital told them to come immediately after hearing her cries of contractions when Lewis phoned them.

Molly said Evie was already on her way when she was at her flat in Aborfield Green and they made the 17-minute journey without the option of an ambulance.

Tree surgeon Lewis found a nurse to bring Molly a wheelchair and was told to undress as soon as she was on the bed as she was in labour.


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Evie was born healthy and “perfect” at 8 pounds 6 ounces on January 24.

When Lewis returned and told them of the fine, the midwives agreed it was unfair.

Molly added: “Receiving the fine was annoying. Nothing could overshadow how happy we were to welcome our baby, but it was constantly on my mind thinking I should pay it or dispute it.

“I appealed the ticket hoping they would have some compassion and waive the fine. We were shocked they refused the request.

“I can imagine people saying anything to avoid paying, but it’s selfish to think giving birth isn’t a good enough reason to waive a fine.”

A spokesperson for APCOA confirmed that the company would change its mind and cancel the ticket after being questioned by The Sun.

Molly called parking company APCOA selfish for not accepting Evie's birth as an exemption

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Molly called parking company APCOA selfish for not accepting Evie’s birth as an exemptionCredit: Hyde News & Pictures