Saturday 16 December 2017

Boob job benefits cheat is spared jail

Lauren Turner

A benefit cheat who used welfare money for breast implants and defrauded the public purse of more than £40,000 (€45,000) was given a suspended sentence yesterday

Mother-of-three Nelle Kellaway (41) was "manipulated" by husband Steven (51), who was the main instigator of the £43,662 fraud, Kingston Crown Court, in London, was told .

She was arrested when she arrived back from her native Russia with an urn, said to contain her husband's ashes.

Mark Himsworth, prosecuting, said investigations had been carried out to determine whether he had actually died, but added: "As far as we know, he's not in this country."

Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which investigated the case, said outside court that evidence from Kellaway's diaries suggested she had undergone a breast enhancement operation while in Russia. A diary entry read out in court said: "Cosmetic enhancement brought nothing but deeper pain and loss."

Another, referring to a pseudonym used as part of the fraud, read: "Nelle turned into Lara." In a file marked "expenses", £500 was set aside for travel, cosmetic surgery and "goods", the court was told.

Mr Himsworth said paperwork found by investigators amounted to a "tool kit for benefit fraud". Much of it was in the name of Lara. Kellaway, a former teacher, admitted three counts of benefit fraud at an earlier hearing. She was said to have played a "supportive" role in the crimes, which were mostly carried out by her husband.

The only benefit claim in her name was for a total of £7,000, the court was told. Judge Shani Barnes sentenced her to a 24-week sentence, suspended for 18 months, and gave her an 18-month supervision order. She was also ordered to do 40 hours' unpaid work. The pair owned properties worth over £1m which they rented out.

The fraud first came to light when Mr Kellaway submitted a claim for housing and council tax benefit to the council, and failed to mention £200,000 the couple had in savings.

Irish Independent

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