Sunderland fridge engineer jailed after being caught playing rugby while pursuing £923,000 personal injury claim

David Ribchester
David Ribchester
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A MAN has been jailed for eight months after he was caught playing rugby while making a £923,000 claim for wrist injuries.

The Old Bailey heard David Ribchester, 31, was secretly filmed at his rugby club where he was “seen to grab the ball with both hands and go into a hard tackle” despite claiming he was unable to carry out the most basic of tasks and even tie his shoelaces.

Ribchester, who exaggerated the injuries he received to his hands and wrists in a workplace accident in February 2006, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at the court last month.

Sentencing him, Judge Nicholas Cooke told him: “David Ribchester, it is greed that has brought you to this and unfortunately there is a lot of greed out there.”

“Genuinely injured people putting forward wholly honest claims are viewed sceptically because of the publicity in relation to this sort of matter.

“Anyone who is tempted to behave in a dishonest way to the extent that you did by attempting to exploit a system which exists to compensate the genuinely injured will end up going to prison.”

The court heard Ribchester told doctors he needed help with his personal care including getting in and out of the bath and that he could not open jars, carry out housework, play the drums or drive his car.

He also conned psychiatrists into thinking he was emotionally scarred by the accident and was diagnosed with moderate post-traumatic stress disorder and with showing features of a major depressive disorder.

He even told them he felt like he was not a proper father as he could not pick his young daughter up.

But insurers began to suspect him after his injuries seemed to be getting worse over time, and referred him to their in-house counter fraud team who carried out surveillance.

Between February 2008 and October 2009, he was filmed on a number of occasions driving his car, carrying his daughter, constructing garden furniture, pushing a trolley, and loading and unloading heavy shopping bags.