Benefit fraudster spared jail

A MOTHER of six who dishonestly received nearly £42,000 benefit has walked free from court after being given a suspended jail sentence.Deborah Hastie, 41, claimed that she was a single parent with six dependent children but was in fact living with her partner.

A MOTHER of six who dishonestly received nearly £42,000 benefit has walked free from court after being given a suspended jail sentence.

Deborah Hastie, 41, claimed that she was a single parent with six dependent children living with her when she applied for income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit between May 2002 and September 2005, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

However Hastie, of Coronation Drive, Felixstowe was in fact living with her husband David Hastie who was working during the relevant period, said Paul Strelitz prosecuting.

Hastie admitted failing to promptly declare a change in her circumstances and failing to notify a change in her circumstances and was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 140 hours unpaid work in the community.

Sentencing her Judge Neil McKittrick said the authorities would make their own arrangements for the recovery of the overpayment of benefit from her.

He said that the overpayment of benefit was the result of “an honest claim that went wrong” and said there was no evidence that the money obtained wrongly was spent on luxuries rather than necessities of life.

Most Read

Neil Macauley for Hastie, said she faced losing her current part-time job as a housing assistant at an accommodation for adults with minor mental health problems, because it was closing down.

He said that Hastie, who had no previous convictions wanted to get another part-time job and was currently repaying the money she owed by deductions from her benefit payments.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter