A FORMER soldier who set up a £19,000 insurance scam after a road smash has been spared jail.
Anthony Carter had reversed his BMW into Harry Knott’s uninsured Astra in Sunderland city centre.
Instead of accepting the blame, 30-year-old Carter told a series of lies, accused Mr Knott of causing the crash and tried to claim compensation for whiplash injuries to him and his passengers.
Carter’s partner Marie Gray, 29, who was a passenger in his car when the collision occurred and his pal Shaun Graham, a decorated former squaddie who was nowhere near the scene but claimed he was a second passenger, were drafted in to back up his false claims.
As well as the lies, Carter threatened Mr Knott and warned he would be “dead” if the truth came out.
The real story was exposed when police checked CCTV at the crash scene.
Carter, of Sunderland, admitted fraud and perverting the course of justice in relation to the incident in September 2009.
He was found guilty of intimidation after a trial before a jury.
Gray, 29, of Sunderland, admitted perverting the course of justice and fraud.
Graham, 26, of South Shields, admitted fraud.
Glenn Gatland, defending Carter, said the former squaddie served his country for five years and has been living a “nightmare” since the whole thing started.
Stuart Graham, defending Graham, said the former fusilier has medals for his service in Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Graham said: “He is at a loss as to how he got involved in this.”
Judge Esmond Faulks said he accepted Gray had been dragged into the scam because of her relationship with Carter.
The judge sentenced her to a community order with a six-month curfew.
Graham was sentenced to a community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work and a four-month curfew.
Carter was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years with 250 hours’ unpaid work and a night time curfew.
The judge told Carter: “You could not complain if I were to send you to prison for a substantial period of time.”