Benefit cheats spared jail after pocketing more than £77k

Benefit cheats spared jail after pocketing more than £77k

Benefit cheats spared jail after pocketing more than £77k

First published in Where I Live This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A RICH company director and his common law wife who illegally pocketed more than £77,000 in benefits have been spared jail so they can care for their daughter.

Suzanne Kelly, of Single Street, Downe, looked visibly relieved at Croydon Crown Court when she was handed a suspended sentence.

The 45-year-old had taken a holdall full of clothes into the dock ready to go to prison as had her partner, taxi company owner Geoffrey Harford-Rees.

However, they were both given six month jail sentences suspended for 12 months.

The pair were given six months to repay the money they received in benefits from Bromley Council, Brighton & Hove Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

And Lee Sergent, mitigating for Harford-Rees, told the court they would be able to pay it back through the properties his client owns.

He said: "Miss Kelly has very little to her name but Mr Harford-Rees does and which ever way it is broken down they will find the money from equity of property and they will do that to pay the public purse back."

Kelly and Harford-Rees claimed £42,529 in housing benefit from Bromley Council from September 2005 to June 2010.

They claimed Kelly was Harford-Rees’s tenant at the property in Single Street and that she had to pay rent to him so she could live there with her daughter.

In reality they were in fact living there as common law man and wife.

The court heard Kelly did a similar thing in Brighton in 2002 and received £6,631 in housing benefits by pretending to be her partner’s tenant.

Kelly also obtained more than £5,000 in council tax discount by saying she was the only adult living in the Downe property.

She also received more than £22,000 in income support after failing to declare she was maintaining a common law household with her 58-year-old partner.

Kelly and Harford-Rees both pleaded guilty to a string of benefit fraud charges.

Sentencing Kelly, Recorder Andrew Campbell-Tiech said: "I understand it grew and grew and grew, but for the facts identified and your timely plea of guilty and the fact that your daughter Millie is in a delicate state, to put it mildly, these facts in common mean the sentence is six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months."

Recorder Campbell-Tiech told Harford-Rees: "For the same reasons and the trouble in which your 12-year-old daughter finds herself, the sentence is exactly the same."

The couple must also do 60 hours of unpaid work each and pay combined costs of £750.

They were both sentenced at the court on June 26.

Comments (11)

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6:00pm Sun 8 Jul 12

mouthalmighty says...

No comment. Except, rich eh!
No comment. Except, rich eh! mouthalmighty
  • Score: 0

7:23pm Sun 8 Jul 12

bizzymum says...

What exactly does "delicate state" mean when describing the 12 year old daughter?
What exactly does "delicate state" mean when describing the 12 year old daughter? bizzymum
  • Score: 0

7:41pm Sun 8 Jul 12

lord righteous says...

Cheating scum using a non descript reason of a "delicate" daughter to rip off the public.
Shame on the pathetic judge and i hope the 2 'adults' suffer constant local abuse!
Cheating scum using a non descript reason of a "delicate" daughter to rip off the public. Shame on the pathetic judge and i hope the 2 'adults' suffer constant local abuse! lord righteous
  • Score: 0

9:45pm Sun 8 Jul 12

Oldchap says...

Should have given one of them a custodial
Should have given one of them a custodial Oldchap
  • Score: 0

11:06am Mon 9 Jul 12

the wall says...

This is the second time she has done this and got off lightly again. Scum.
This is the second time she has done this and got off lightly again. Scum. the wall
  • Score: 0

11:24am Mon 9 Jul 12

Jeeepsie Joe says...

Better be on best behaviour Wall, I have a feeling Mizz is back !! Comments deleted already LOL.
Better be on best behaviour Wall, I have a feeling Mizz is back !! Comments deleted already LOL. Jeeepsie Joe
  • Score: 0

11:49am Mon 9 Jul 12

the wall says...

Jeeepsie Joe wrote:
Better be on best behaviour Wall, I have a feeling Mizz is back !! Comments deleted already LOL.
Comments now closed on that story :)
[quote][p][bold]Jeeepsie Joe[/bold] wrote: Better be on best behaviour Wall, I have a feeling Mizz is back !! Comments deleted already LOL.[/p][/quote]Comments now closed on that story :) the wall
  • Score: 0

12:35pm Mon 9 Jul 12

Flowergirl76 says...

Same old same old 'be nice' attitude from the judges !
Same old same old 'be nice' attitude from the judges ! Flowergirl76
  • Score: 0

10:13am Tue 10 Jul 12

commenting scoffer says...

...awww why no comments allowed on the 'penge train robber' tom ? heard about it on another forum that 'tom' can't just find!! rofl!! ...b.t.w. you just don't see 'nastymrtom' aka one thousand names anymore - on any forum that we visit... i've posted on a fair few local newspapers and she just can't keep up anymore!! and yet prevuiously... she used to appear nine times out of ten like a bad smell!! must have browser problems!! scoff!! titter!! mind you - it was tough going... but like a lion-tamer armed with the raised chair and the handy bull-whip... scoff... the good guys and gals tamed her gud 'n' proper!! now pardon me 'tom' i've got to visit a war-hero!! rofl!!
...awww why no comments allowed on the 'penge train robber' tom ? heard about it on another forum that 'tom' can't just find!! rofl!! ...b.t.w. you just don't see 'nastymrtom' aka one thousand names anymore - on any forum that we visit... i've posted on a fair few local newspapers and she just can't keep up anymore!! and yet prevuiously... she used to appear nine times out of ten like a bad smell!! must have browser problems!! scoff!! titter!! mind you - it was tough going... but like a lion-tamer armed with the raised chair and the handy bull-whip... scoff... the good guys and gals tamed her gud 'n' proper!! now pardon me 'tom' i've got to visit a war-hero!! rofl!! commenting scoffer
  • Score: 0

12:25pm Tue 10 Jul 12

Jeeepsie Joe says...

Tom again now LOL. What about Erastus, or Joe etc etc etc etc etc etc.
Run along moron.

How did things go in Kingston ?

23 Votes !! ROFL
Tom again now LOL. What about Erastus, or Joe etc etc etc etc etc etc. Run along moron. How did things go in Kingston ? 23 Votes !! ROFL Jeeepsie Joe
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Tue 10 Jul 12

madras says...

Enough people in jail already, hardly sound like a threat to society - simple answer is to (at least) fine them a sum equal to what they stole as well as paying back the original amount. I'm sure they'd be able to raise it somehow.
Enough people in jail already, hardly sound like a threat to society - simple answer is to (at least) fine them a sum equal to what they stole as well as paying back the original amount. I'm sure they'd be able to raise it somehow. madras
  • Score: 0

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