Monday, 15 August 2016

Croydon Mum Jailed In Surgery For Benefits Scam

A mother who forced her children to undergo needless medical procedures to claim thousands in benefits has been sentenced to seven and a half years in jail.

The 49-year-old, from Croydon, South London, repeatedly lied to medical professionals, allowing her to claim more than £375,000 over a 10-year period.

In what has been described as a "staggering" case of child cruelty, her son and daughter were forced to take unnecessary drugs and go through invasive treatment, including having tubes fitted in their stomachs.

Sentencing the woman, who can not be named to protect her children's identity, Judge Elizabeth Smaller said she had shown no remorse.

"I note that you have appeared to be very sad at times during this trial - but, watching you as I have for three months in court, in my view, it cannot be said to amount to remorse for what you did," Judge Smaller said.

Despite being made aware of all the risks of surgery, she had signed the consent forms to ensure it went ahead, without being "filled with the disquiet that most parents would," she added.

Both children had surgery to fit them with gastrostomy tubes for feeding, despite being able to eat normally, after the woman told authorities they had stomach problems.

The boy was given steroids after she claimed he suffered breathlessness and was told to behave as though he had autism.

He was also kept in nappies until he was taken into care, aged seven-and-a-half.

The woman was arrested in 2013 following a three-year investigation, Croydon Crown Court was told.

She was convicted last month of cruelty, fraud, making a false representation and obtaining money transfer by deception.

"The lengths to which you went were creative and well-thought through," the judge said.

"They were wilful, prolonged and sometimes elaborate," she added, noting it was "bewildering" that after years of cruelty her children still loved her.

"Despite everything your children still love you - that is no doubt, which makes your exploitation of their unconditional love and trust, for them, all the more serious and bewildering," she said.

Commenting on the case, an NSPCC spokeswoman said: "This is an incredibly distressing case.

"For a mother to subject her own children to invasive medical procedures for no reason other than her own financial gain is shocking and difficult to comprehend.

"As a mother, her role was to love and nurture her children, not subject them to pain and suffering.

"Their experiences will leave physical and emotional scars which could affect them for the rest of their lives and it is right that their mother is now facing the consequences of her selfish and cruel actions."

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