Thursday 14 December 2017

Widow hid husband's death for four years in benefits fraud

Antony Stone, Press Association.

A widow has admitted hiding the death of her husband for four years so she could carry on claiming thousands of pounds in benefits in his name.

Rebekah Sturdey, 56, of Tregaron, West Wales, jointly claimed more than £70,000 from the taxpayer with another woman before both were caught in 2012.

By then, there had been no sign of her husband, Geoffrey Sturdey, 60, of the same address, since October 2008, the year and month it was later established he died.

Sturdey was originally arrested with three other women, who all lived together on the remote communal farm of Beth Berith, in June this year.

Police discovered Mr Sturdey's body buried at the farm and a post-mortem examination established that he had died suddenly of natural causes.

Sturdey, originally from Iran, Boque Ore Adie, 43, and Karmel Adie, 24, all admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of Mr Sturdey today.

Fourth dependant Hazel Adie, 20, widow Sturdey's daughter, pleaded not guilty to the offence and was discharged after no evidence was offered against her.

Sturdey and Boque Ore Adie also admitted failing to notify the authorities that they were in receipt of Mr Sturdey's disability allowance and pension credits

Their joint fraud continued into last year, by which time they had received £77,318 in Mr Sturdey's name.

All four women appeared in a brief hearing at Swansea Crown Court today after which the case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

Sturdey, Boque Ore Adie, originally from South Africa, and Karmel Adie, will be sentenced on December 12. Sturdey and Boque Ore Adie remain remanded in custody.

All four women were originally arrested in June after the Department for Work and Pensions made inquiries about Mr Sturdey's whereabouts.

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