Wigan mum wrongly claimed £12,000 in benefits

A Wigan mother will have to pay back thousands of pounds after incorrectly coining in benefits, a court was told.

Friday, 19th January 2018, 10:30 am
Updated Friday, 19th January 2018, 12:20 pm
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

Katherine Mitchell wrongly claimed over £12,000 in council tax credits over almost two years, after failing to tell the authorities that her son had entered full-time work while still living with her.

Appearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, the 52-year-old of Grimshaw Street, Golborne, was given a three-month curfew as punishment for failing to disclose her change in circumstances.

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The court heard how Mitchell wrongly claimed the eye-watering figure between June 2011 and March 2013, after her son Jak Burchall left college and gained full-time employment, which would have affected the amount to which she was entitled.

Prosecutors claimed she had, in fact, gone as far as to notify the Wigan Council that he had even moved out of the property and was living with his girlfriend.

But after officials grew suspicious, they contacted Jak himself, who confirmed he was still living with his mother.

Defending, Graham Simpson told justices why his client had not disclosed this information and still claimed the tax credits.

“Her son was in college, and she did not have to disclose (that he lived at home),” Mr Simpson said.

According to Mr Simpson, following Jak leaving college and getting a job: “She declared him as not living there as he regularly stayed at his girlfriend’s house instead.”

Mr Simpson added that Mitchell was caught “between a rock and a hard place” at the time of the incorrect claims, and that she was unlikely to commit any further offence in future.

He said: “She is unlikely to be before these courts ever again.

“She is genuinely remorseful and is absolutely terrified of this court process.

“But I am not trying to diminish what she has done in any way.”

Magistrates handed her a community order, consisting of a 12-week curfew between 7pm and 7am.