Pensioner from Northampton who falsely claimed £60,000 in benefits given suspended jail sentence

A pensioner from Northampton who fraudulently claimed more than £60,000 worth of benefits has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Thursday, 20th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:52 pm
Northampton Crown Court

Christopher Hand, aged 67, appeared at Northampton Crown Court after he admitted falsely claiming tens of thousands of pounds worth of Income Support, Job Seekers’ allowance and Pension Credit.

The court heard Hand, of Campion Court, Bellinge, had over-claimed at total of £61,195 between 2007 and 2014.

Stephen Moore, prosecuting, said Hand had informed the Department for Works and Pensions that he and his wife, who lived together, were both unemployed.

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However, Mr Moore said evidence had come to light that his wife was employed as a carer, earning up to £250 a week.

After hearing that Mr Hand’s wife died two weeks ago, Recorder Martin Hurst said it would be “inhumane” to send him to prison.

Recorder Hurst said: “The fact of the matter is that you are an old man now and it is 18 months after the offence occurred.

“It is a tragedy your wife died just two weeks ago and I believe it would be inhumane to lock you up at this time and I’m not going to.”

Hand, who pleaded guilty to three counts of benefit fraud, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year.

The court heard the money is being paid back by a deduction from his benefits.