Worksop man’s false benefit claim after £20,000 inheritance from late wife

Mansfield Magistrates Court
Mansfield Magistrates Court

A Worksop man falsely claimed £8,000 in benefits after inheriting £20,000 from his late wife, a court has heard.

Leslie Hopewell, 61, of Kingston Close, admitted dishonestly making false statements to obtain employment support allowance, Council Tax and housing benefit on March 6, 2013.

Robert Carr, prosecuting, said Hopewell had only declared savings of £700 to Bassetlaw District Council, but failed to mention a Lloyds bank account containing £20,000, which was transferred there in April 2013.

“He accepted that he knew that if he had declared that capital his benefits would have ceased,” said Mr Carr. “He said a large part had been spent on his wife’s funeral.”

The court heard the £8,000 was repaid last year.

Tariq Hussain, mitigating, said: “He accepts that he failed to declare because of everything in his life.

“He lost his wife in February 2013. She had been suffering from depression for the last three years. She was bedbound and he was her carer.

“Prior to the loss of his wife she made any claims for benefits.”

The court heard that Hopewell, who had no previous convictions, had suffered a heart attack and had angina, as well as problems with his spine which meant he had to use a stick for walking.

Chairman Keith Ward said: “This is quite an unusual case. We are going to put this down to a bad decision made at a difficult time.

“We have taken your previous good character, your age, and your illness, into account.”

Hopewell was given a conditional discharge of 18 months and ordered to pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.