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3 Sep 2015

Mother jailed for benefit fraud & gashing a woman

A mum who hurled her glass at another woman in a night club, causing a 10cm gash from ear to mouth, has been jailed for 12 months.

Gemma Burrows, 25, wept as she was led to the cells after admitting wounding and four benefit fraud offences worth £35,000.

Natalia Cornwall, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that about 2am on December 27 last year Burrows was in the Bar 44 club in Westmill Street, St Helens.

She accidentally bumped into Leanne Garrity, who was on the dance floor, causing her to spill her drink. An argument developed between the victim and Burrows' friend.

Burrows threw her drink and the glass hit Ms Garrity in the face. She did not realise she had been injured until she felt blood running down her face. Door staff gave her first aid and at Whiston Hospital it was found she had a deep ten centimetre laceration from her mouth to her ear.

Miss Cornwall told the court that police had been unable to trace the victim, who has moved address, to obtain a victim personal statement, but she may have been left scarred for life and suffering permanent nerve damage.

After reading on Facebook about the victim’s injuries Burrows went to a police station the next day and confessed. She accepted throwing the glass and apologised.

The court heard that the fraud offences involved her claiming income support, child tax credit and housing and council tax benefit on the grounds she was a single mum between July 2011 and April 25 last year. However for at least 18 months of that time she had been living at her home with her partner, Matthew Phillips.

Robert Haygarth, defending, said that Burrows, who has two daughters, has scant recollection of the incident in the club but had gone to the police to confess when reading about it on Facebook. She has low self-esteem and was not confident that her partner would stay with her. They did break up for a time but got back together, he added.

Sentencing Burrows the judge, Recorder Anil Murray, said that CCTV showed her throwing the glass which left the victim “with a deep and nasty cut from the corner of her mouth to her ear and she needed cosmetic surgery. You have genuine remorse and felt sick when shows what you had done. I can see you are remorseful from your actions. It will be difficult for your children but it is your fault.”

The judge said he accepted that he sentenced her on the basis that she had wrongly obtained £20,000 in benefits as some of the period her partner was not living with her.

The court heard that she was the subject of an eight week suspended sentence for driving while disqualified and with excess alcohol at the time of the fraud and the judge activated two weeks to run concurrently to the 12 months with a further two months concurrently for the fraud.

Source

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