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10 Mar 2016

Boxing champion's daughter fiddles benefits

A benefit cheat bride has been given 368 years to pay back cash she fiddled from taxpayers - at a rate of just £2.66 a week.

Scammer Michelle Winstone - daughter-in-law of ex-boxing world champion Howard Winstone - was busted by her own wedding pictures on Facebook.

Winstone, 48, claimed she was living alone to claim income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit and council tax relief - netting £51,034.71.

But she was really living with hubby Wayne who works full-time for a furniture firm.

Government snoopers were tipped off after the dopey pair put their wedding pictures from 2010 on the internet.

But yesterday a court allowed Winstone to pay it back rather than go to jail – even though she would be 416 years old before she repaid her debt in 2384.

Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said she could only afford £2.66 a week He said: “It is unlikely the full amount will be recovered from benefits. She had failed to tell the authorities that she was living with her husband following a temporary break up. Surveillance of the home also showed they were living together." Mr Greenwood told the court investigators also saw the couple's relationship statuses and wedding pictures on Facebook.

Winstone, of Cefn Coed, Merthyr Tydfil, admitted failing to notify authorities of a change in circumstance.

Andrew Davies, defending, said Winstone was not in good health and was paying back all she could. He said: "She did not make a conscious decision but accepts that she knew her circumstances had changed."

Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones told Winstone: "A lot of people have to cope and do it honestly. I am a human being seeking to understand the problems people face but there is no doubt a prison sentence is the right sentence."

Winstone was handed an eight month suspended sentence at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court and ordered to continue repaying her debt.

Her father-in-law Howard Winstone won the British, European, and World featherweight title – and clinched gold at the 1958 British Empire Games at bantamweight. He died aged 61 in in 2000 and a bronze statue was unveiled in his home town of Merthyr Tydfil.

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