A teacher jailed for firing an air pistol during a confrontation with youths she claimed had vandalised her Greater Manchester home this week lost a plea to be freed on bail pending appeal.
Linda Walker, 48, was told by a Court of Appeal judge that her case was being treated as urgent and would be heard on May 5, if not before. He said new evidence might influence her sentence.
The mother-of-two from Urmston was jailed for six months after `being found guilty of affray and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear and violence.
The head of food technology at New Park special school fired at the pavement in a stand-off with a group she described as "yobs" outside her home last August.
Her appeal is based on new evidence from a milkman proving that at least one boy was lying when he said he had never been on her property.
Meanwhile, her daughter Donna has set up a website and petition to campaign for her mother's release. She said: "We have received hundreds of letters, prayers and good wishes. It has overwhelmed and comforted my mum and family greatly."
Almost 2,000 well-wishers have already visited the Free Linda site, filling more than 50 pages of an online guestbook. Many have also asked for their names to be added to the petition. Ted Gibbins, a retired publican from Kent, said: "This is so ridiculous. It's disgusting that the judge would send her to prison."
Walker, who had an unblemished 25-year career as a teacher, told police that she had been subject to nuisance calls, and that the youths had broken into her garden shed repeatedly, and vandalised her home. She said that she was driven to shoot at the teenagers after they emptied a washing-up-liquid bottle full of water over her son's car.