£91,000 fraudster given suspended sentence

A disabled woman who fiddled over £91,000 in benefits escaped jail when she appeared at Bradford Crown Court.

Catherine Denton, 62, of Haley Court, Boothtown, Halifax, failed to declare she had been reconciled with her ex-husband Peter Denton.

Judge Peter Benson told Denton, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, if it was not for her ill health she would have been sent to prison.

Instead, he gave her a six month prison sentence suspended for two years and imposed a three month curfew on Denton from 7am until 7pm.

David Gordon, prosecuting, said the benefits dated back to 2003 and Denton had been informed to notify the authorities of any change in her circumstances.

He said Denton had been living with her ex-husband for a number of years and Peter Denton had given her address to his employers and others.

“All show he gave Mrs Denton’s address as his own,” he said.

The court was told the couple married in 1976 and divorced in 1992 and Catherine Denton said he had lived at other addresses in Boothtown, Halifax, while visiting her twice a day giving her support with health and disability problems. He also had access to her Mobility car.

She said he only moved back in with her in April 2011.

“Inquiries show there was no evidence to show any other permanent address,” said Mr Gordon.

The benefit breakdown consisted of £60,129 income support, £22,473 housing benefit, £7,102 council tax benefit, and £1,892 pension credit.

Thomas John mitigating, said his client was of previous good character and had ongoing medical appointments.

Judge Benson told her she had been a highly respected citizen.

“What you did was wrong. You milked the taxpayer and you should be ashamed of yourself.

You knew you were doing wrong. I would send you to custody straight away had it had not been for your health.”