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24 Oct 2018

Smoking mother wants to get off scot free

A £78,000 benefit cheat wants to get out of doing unpaid work - claiming she's incapable of doing it.

Kathryn Leathard fleeced taxpayers for five years by claiming to be a single mum. She dodged jail last year due to her three kids. Instead, she was handed 140 hours of unpaid work to do.

We posted here that in essence she had escaped punishment.

But now she's trying to get that scrapped, claiming it is "unworkable".

The 30-year-old was due at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court on Monday but failed to show. The court heard she had called up that day claiming she was "too anxious" to attend.

Last year the Prudhoe woman pleaded guilty to three benefit fraud offences, receiving a 12-month suspended sentence along with the community service.

She'd claimed tax credits, income support, council tax benefit and housing benefit on the basis she was living alone.

But inspectors realised she was living with her partner - after his Just Eat account was registered to her Parkwood Avenue address.

Sentencing Leathard in November, Judge Stephen Earl slammed her for taking from the public purse.

“Let’s be clear - this is public money you defrauded the Government and the public out of," he told Newcastle Crown Court. “People who pay into it are entitled to that money.

“It may be you would have been entitled to some of it but but the effect is, when people commit fraud, you never know the full truth. I accept you didn’t get into this seeing how much you could defraud but you have defrauded and it’s a large some of money."

However he said "it can't be easy" looking after three children, adding: " I’m not going to take her away from her children.”

Between 2011 and 2016, previously-unconvicted Leathard pocketed £78,990.

But now she's launched an application to amend the requirements of a suspended sentence.

The application claims the unpaid work is "unworkable having been assessed as unfit for work". The reason is unclear as she failed to attend court on Monday.

Magistrates heard she may not have attended as a blunder meant some documents may have stated the hearing was at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court. However, the court clerk clarified she had called to say she wasn't attending, stating: "She has contacted us to say she is too anxious to come to court."

The case was adjourned until October 31, with a venue to be decided.

Source with pictures

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