Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Woman claiming to be severely disabled filmed playing golf in Carlisle

A woman who claimed more than £38,000 in disability benefits was secretly filmed as she played golf in Carlisle.

Roberta Packman photo
Roberta Packman

A judge at the city’s crown court warned 58-year-old Roberta Packman, who admitted two counts of benefit fraud, that she now faces a likely jail sentence.

She had just pleaded guilty to fiddling her benefit over more than five years, illegally claiming severe disability premium income support between 2006 and 2011; and a similar offence involving disability living allowance.

The case against Packman, who leant on a brolly as she stood in the dock, was built on surveillance video footage which shows her playing golf at Stoneyholme Golf Course in Carlisle.

She had told officials from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that her disability was such that she had difficulty walking.

She claimed she needed to hold on to her partner in order to walk any distance and that she was constantly in pain.

Yet the video surveillance showed her striding about the Stoneyholme course, playing golf, jogging along a path towards the clubhouse, and lifting heavy equipment into the boot of her car.

DWP officials said the video showed that the defendant was guilty of deceiving officials by continuing to claim her benefits on the basis that she was severely disabled.

In court, Packman, 57, of Albyfield South, Cumrew, near Brampton, spoke only to enter her guilty pleas and to confirm her details.

Until yesterday’s hearing, she had been due to face a trial by jury, having denied dishonestly claiming her benefits.

Her defence solicitor Chris Toms told the court that she intends to leave Cumbria and move to Northamptonshire.

Adjourning the case so that background reports can be prepared, Recorder Kevin Grice told Packman: “Immediate custody has to be appropriate.” He added: “You have pleaded guilty to two serious offences involving a large amount of benefit.”

The amount she claimed illegally was £38,489. Packman will be sentenced on December 10.


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