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Benefit cheat’s secret partner
A BENEFIT cheat from Worcester stole more than £8,000 from the taxpayer after she failed to declare her partner was living with her.
Annie-May Slater, aged 23, of Glenthorne Avenue, Brickfields, Worcester, admitted failing to notify Worcester City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in her circumstances which would have meant a cut in her benefits.
Between February 6 and October 31 last year she failed to promptly notify Worcester City Council that she was living in the same household as Luke Rowberry as husband and wife, which affected her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit. Between February 2 and October 30 last year she also failed to promptly notify the Department for Work and Pensions that she was living with Mr Rowberry as husband and wife, affecting entitlement to income support. Fred Pilkington, prosecuting, said in total she defrauded the taxpayer of £8,396.19 by not declaring that she was living with Mr Rowberry.
Rebecca Connolly, defending, said the couple had been together four years and Slater had a child by a previous relationship and two children by Mr Rowberry.
She said Slater was only 19 when she met Mr Rowberry and that when they were first together he continued to live like someone of that age which meant the relationship could be “rocky”.
She said: “After the birth of his own child Mr Rowberry decided to grow up and he decided he wanted to be a family man.” He spent less time away with friends and gradually spent more with Slater. Mrs Connolly said: “She didn’t initially notice him moving in. After the birth of his child they were living together full time. Previous to that he was not staying as much. She is making voluntary repayments of £120 a month.”
Miss Connolly said the overpayments in Slater’s benefits had not been at the forefront of her mind after she had just given birth and had three children below the age of five.
District judge Nigel Cadbury said: “The general public are unhappy with the way people defraud the system. When there are limited sums everybody suffers. Everyone gets a little less because there’s less money and that’s partly due to people like you defrauding the system.”
She was given a 12-month community order and ordered to pay £85 towards costs and a £60 victim surcharge.