AN APPLEBY woman who admitted committing an act of indecency while driving on the motorway was trying to ‘cheer herself up’ after a catalogue of family problems.

Lorry driver Jonathon Kitchen spotted Miranda Chapman, 43, of Doomgate, indulging in an intimate act as she overtook him between Carlisle and Shap at around 4pm on May 13.

Penrith Magistrates' Court heard that Ms Chapman was pulled over by officers at Brunthwaite following a call from Mr Kitchen.

She was charged with dangerous driving and outraging public decency.

Judith Birbeck, defending, said Mrs Chapman had been shopping in Carlisle when she received a phone call from her daughter telling her she was pregnant.

“That might be good news to for many people but in this case it wasn’t,” said Ms Birkbeck.

“Her daughter suffers from mental health problems that are exacerbated during pregnancy so Mrs Chapman was unhappy and concerned by that call.”

Her soldier son then called to say he was going to be deployed to Afghanistan.

Ms Birkbeck said: “Mrs Chapman already has a relative who has suffered life threatening injuries from Afghanistan so you can only imagine her distress at the thought of him being sent there.”

She then received a third phone call from her disabled father who lives in Ulverston saying that he needed her to go to his house because he had lost something.

Ms Birkbeck said the events had made her client feel ‘extremely upset’ and the offence occured ‘in a moment of madness.’ “It was a completely out of character action for her. A decision made by all the incidents piling up and she believed she was in the privacy of her own car.”

A friend was allowed to sit with Mrs Chapman, who cried throughout the hearing, and the court heard how she dropped four dress sizes since the incident due to stress.

Magistrates issued an interim disqualification from driving until October 8, when she will be sentenced following a probation report.

She also faces being issued with a sexual offences order.