Warder's wife took benefits illegally

A SUFFOLK prison officer's wife took nearly £14,000 from the public purse by failing to point out that she was living with her husband while claiming benefits.

A SUFFOLK prison officer's wife took nearly £14,000 from the public purse by failing to point out that she was living with her husband while claiming benefits.

Rhianydd Bradford pleaded guilty to claiming £12,500 in income support and £1,100 in council tax benefits between February 2004 and January 2006.

The 33-year-old of Edwin Avenue, Woodbridge failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions and Suffolk Coastal District Council that she was living with her partner, Anthony Bradford, who was employed as a prison officer at Hollesley Bay.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Bradford was a former nurse of previous good character and had initially made the claim legitimately.

However her husband had moved back to their Rendlesham home just three weeks after she made her benefit claims and she did not tell the authorities for almost two years.

Neil Macaulay, mitigating, said his client's relationship with her husband had been “difficult”. He said Mr Bradford had returned to the matrimonial home but not on a permanent basis and he had “retained control of the finances”.

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He added that Bradford had continued to claim the benefits so her autistic daughter could attend nursery school.

Judge Neil McKittrick said: “Your husband came back to live at home but there were periods where he would come and go for weeks at a time.

“The relationship deteriorated and now you are a divorced lady. This was not a deception, as such, but failing to notify a change of circumstances”.

Bradford was told to do 60 hours unpaid work for the community and pay £250 towards court costs.

It is usual in these cases that the amount falsely claimed is paid back to the benefit agencies in instalments.

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