Tuesday 20 August 2019

Mother of 16 made fake claim to pay for her funeral

Suspended sentence: Winnifred ‘Winnie’ Lawrence leaving court yesterday. Photo: Collins
Suspended sentence: Winnifred ‘Winnie’ Lawrence leaving court yesterday. Photo: Collins

Sonya McLean

A mother of 16 has avoided a jail term after she tried to process a bogus personal injury claim because she needed money to cover the costs of her and her husband's funerals.

Winnifred Lawrence (69), of Moorefield Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin, was sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on signed pleas of guilty from the District Court.

She admitted to inducing staff at the Blackrock Clinic into believing she was Ellen Stokes, with the intention of making a gain for herself at Blackrock Clinic, Rock Road, Blackrock, on December 7, 2017. She had no previous convictions.

Garda Damien Reilly told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that Ms Lawrence tried to make a claim against RSA insurance in which she pretended to be Ms Stokes and said she had been involved in an accident on August 5, 2013.

She later came to the Circuit Civil Court in February 2018, again purporting to be Ms Stokes, but the claim was struck out at that hearing by the judge. Gda Reilly said that a garda who knew Lawrence attended the Circuit Civil hearing and noted that she still claimed to be Ellen Stokes.

The garda confirmed that RSA insurance was at a loss of €14,143.37 which related to the company's legal costs to defend the case.

Jennifer Jackson BL told the court that her client was a mother to 16 children, two of whom died as babies. She said Lawrence had no money available to compensate the company and that she was in receipt of the State pension. Counsel said her client was willing to save €50 per week in an effort to raise the €14,000.

Judge Pauline Codd sentenced Lawrence to three years in prison which she suspended in full.

Irish Independent

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