A MOTHER who falsely claimed more than £8,500 in benefits while she worked had “struggled through life” and suffered two family tragedies.
Denise Turner, 59, from Crosland Moor, claimed £8,764 of income support between August 2004 and September 2006 while she worked as a cleaner.
The details of the offences were revealed when she appeared before Huddersfield Magistrates yesterday. She had pleaded guilty to benefit fraud.
Magistrates said Turner’s offence was “very serious” and she was given an 18 month community and supervision order.
Turner, who receives food and help with bills from the Salvation Army, lost a 16-year-old daughter in a road accident 23 years ago. Within 12 months her husband died.
Turner, who lives with her daughter, claimed she was trying to clear her debts.
Probation officer David Town said: “She’s struggled through life. She’s in a mess emotionally and financially. She doesn’t drink or take drugs. She suffers major stress and anxiety.
“She doesn’t need probation supervision. This lady has welfare needs, not criminal needs. The system is ill-equipped for people like Mrs Turner.”
Bob Carr, defending, said Turner had suffered “purgatory” in the 12 months it had taken to bring the case to court.
He said: “She lived 59 years without doing anything illegal. I am confident she will not appear before the court again. This woman has made an error and she’s paid for it very dearly.”