A “deceitful” former magistrate has been jailed after she lied about her mobility to cheat the benefits system out of more than £26,000.
Sandra Howell, 43, fraudulently claimed the benefits while working as a domestic cleaner in Greater Manchester.
The former Stockport magistrate was brought into court in a wheelchair, but footage was played to the jury showing her walking across the court precincts.
CCTV surveillance footage also showed her walking around at the Trafford Centre shopping mall, faster than other shoppers and also working on her driveway.
Howell was convicted of two fraud offences following a trial and was jailed for nine months at Liverpool Crown Court.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, said,
“You were administering the law, presiding over cases and sitting in judgement on those before you, no doubt on occasions having to determine whether the evidence was so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence could be justified.
“No doubt on occasions having defendants in front of you charged with offences for which you now fall to be sentenced.
“During much of that time while you were supposedly administering the law you were breaking the law, repeatedly committing criminal acts by defrauding the state.
“You were stealing from the state. Between February 2013 and October 2016 you were paid higher rate Disability Living Allowance and received £26,539, money that you were not entitled to.”