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Three admit benefit fraud

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: July 12, 2010

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THREE women who admitted benefit fraud totalling thousands of pounds have walked free from court.

The trio appeared in separate cases at Gloucester Magistrates' Court – and each pleaded guilty to the charges.

Elaine Woodward, of Silver Street, Dursley, admitted cheating £11,754.75 when she applied for benefits without disclosing the £29,000 she already had in savings.

Prosecuting Will Palmer said: "She produced a bank statement showing she had between £2,500-£3,000, but did not disclose that she had another bank account with other savings."

"She had received £47,000 from the break-up of a relationship but withheld that information."

Remorse

Woodward, 53, who had a history of nervous breakdowns and is bipolar, had started paying back the money, and was remorseful for the offence, the court heard.

She was given a conditional discharge for two years, and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

Emily Purdie, of Park Road, Stonehouse, had previously pleaded guilty to benefit fraud, as she continued to receive housing benefit and council tax benefit when she returned to work.

Mr Palmer said the 26-year-old had been legitimately claiming benefits but after her third child returned to work and failed to inform Stroud District Council.

She received a total of £6,395.64 fraudulently.

He added that she was £15,000 in debt and had suffered from post-natal depression after the birth.

Without representation, Purdie spoke to the court directly.

She said: "I'm sorry I did it. I wasn't in my normal state of mind, with my children and what was going on.

"I'm feeling much better now. My life is back on track."

She was given an unconditional discharge and ordered to pay £60 in costs.

Paula Kyte, of Purton Place, Lydney, pleaded guilty to receiving £5,542.84 because she did not declare that she was no longer living alone – a change that affected her benefits.

Sobbing uncontrollably in the court, the 46-year-old told magistrates: "I'm so sorry."

Presiding magistrate Peter Martin gave her an unconditional discharge for two years and ordered her to pay £80 in costs.

Speaking to Kyte he said: "It means you're not going to be punished for this offence but if you commit another offence and are found guilty in the next two years, not only will you be punished for the new offence, but for this offence as well. We're putting you on trust for two years."

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