Sunderland mum in court over false benefit claims

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A WEARSIDE mother was given a conditional discharge for six months for falsely claiming benefits.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard how Claire Bainbridge, 39, of Gambia Square, Grindon, Sunderland, had claimed an overpayment in income support of £4,665.48.

Linda Beck, prosecuting, said in March 2013 the defendant when claiming benefit failed to declare her partner was working, when in fact from between September 2012 and January 2014, he had a security job.

Defending, Philipa Wylie, said Bainbridge had always worked and never claimed benefits until 2010 when her partner suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage.

She said: “That is when things started to go awry and this had a huge impact on family life. To say things have been hard is an understatement.”

She said because her partner could only work on a sporadic basis when she filled in the forms she didn’t know if he would be working or not in the coming months due to his condition.

Ms Wylie said her client, who pleaded guilty, was hugely remorseful about what had happened.

Magistrates read letters from hospital staff and took the mitigating circumstances into consideration and gave Ms Bainbridge the conditional discharge.