A PREGNANT woman has avoided jail after falsely claiming more than £12,500 in benefits.
Jade Hill, 30, of Pennybutts Close, Golborne, pleaded guilty to three charges of benefit fraud at Wigan Magistrates’ court after failing to inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that her husband was living with her.
The court heard how Hill, who has three children and is pregnant with her fourth, had been together with her husband, Daniel, for 11 years, but they split up when he said he wanted to move to South Wales and Hill objected.
But following the birth of their youngest child, who is 15 months old, in October 2009, the pair reconciled and Mr Hill moved back in with his wife to a house on Winstanley Road, Bamfurlong, where they were living at the time the offences were committed.
After becoming suspicious that the couple were living together, the DWP found that Mr Hill’s passport was registered to his wife’s address as well as a loan and a credit card.
Martin Jones, defending, asked the judges to be lenient on his client as she has a string of health problems, some of which were related to her current pregnancy.
He said: “At the time of Mrs Hill’s claim she was looking after three children on her own, the eldest of whom is disabled and suffers from ADHD and autism.
“In the past she has suffered nine miscarriages and her current pregnancy is classed as high risk. She has been told this is her last opportunity to have a child.
“She has tested positively in the past for cervical cancer and has kidney problems as well as other health problems, which will affect her ability to do unpaid work, be under curfew or serve a custodial sentence.”
Hill was given a four-week prison sentence, which was suspended for 12 months and was ordered to carry out a New Directions Activity Requirement by the magistrates.
She was also ordered to pay £200 towards prosecution costs and the court heard that she has already started repaying the money she falsely claimed from the Department of Work and Pensions.