Great grandmother in benefit swindle

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A SHAMED disabled great grandmother told how she feared neighbours would laugh and point at her after she admitted four counts of benefit fraud.

Jane Powell, 68, of Whittle-le-Woods, Chorley, continued to claim benefits for council tax, income support, housing benefit and pension credit as if she was still single, after marrying her partner in 1998.

Investigators said she told benefits bosses he had left her, but this was untrue.

He remained living with her and was working full time, the court heard.

For 13 years Ms Powell, who has seven great grandchildren, continued to reap benefits she was not entitled to, which chiefs from the Department for Work and Pensions claim amounts to around £43,000, but this is disputed by Ms Powell’s defence.

She was arrested in July last year. She pleaded guilty to four counts of benefit fraud at Preston Crown Court.

Her sentence was adjourned for a trial of issue as both sides debate how much she owes.

Today she told the Evening Post she needed the cash as she cares for her three youngest great grandchildren who are aged two, three and four.

She said: “ To be honest I never even thought I had to inform them when I got married. The day after I was arrested I kicked him out.

“It has dragged on for ages

“I felt shocked when they told me how much they thought I owed and I still don’t think it’s that much.

“I cannot work as I suffer diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, asthmas angina and brittle bone disease.

“I admit what I did was wrong but there are people who have done worse than me.

“I was terrified of going to prison for my great grandchildren.

“My neighbours will be pointing fingers at me.”