Crash-for-cash fraudster fails in appeal bid

Hester Louise Mounsey failed to get her conviction quashed at London's Court of Appeal.
Hester Louise Mounsey failed to get her conviction quashed at London's Court of Appeal.

A crash-for-cash fraudster who was jailed for two years for her part in a fake road accident has failed in a Court of Appeal bid to clear her name.

Hester Louise Mounsey, 30, claimed she was driving in her BMW X5 in County Durham when it was struck by an Audi A6 in January 2009.

Afterwards, insurance claims were made and almost £70,000 paid out for damage, injuries and replacement vehicle hire costs.

But after a police investigation, Mounsey was arrested and convicted of fraud in June 2012.

She took her case back before judges, claiming that her Newcastle Crown Court conviction was "unsafe" and should be quashed.

The evidence of a crucial prosecution witness had subsequently been found to be unreliable, she claimed.

But in a hearing in London, three of the country's top judges upheld Mounsey's conviction.

"There was compelling evidence which directly implicated her in the fraud," said Court of Appeal judge, Lord Justice Simon.

Mounsey, of Adventure Lane Caravan Park, Houghton, was one of many caught in the Operation Nacho clampdown on crash-for-cash fraud.

She first claimed the alleged crash, in Birtley Way, Beamish, was genuine, but then changed her story to claim the other driver was the fraudster and she was an innocent victim.

She took her case to the Court of Appeal claiming that a prosecution crash expert who gave evidence at her trial had since been discredited.

The expert had been strongly criticised in another case and the prosecution now accepted he could not be relied on, her lawyers argued.

But Lord Justice Simon, sitting today with Mr Justice Sweeney and Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC, dismissed the appeal.

As well as the testimony of the collision expert, there had been plenty of other evidence against Mounsey, he said.

She had given conflicting accounts of what happened and there was a "proper foundation" on which the jury could convict her, he said.

The appeal bid was refused.