A karate fighter Claire Thomas has been caught in a disability benefit mess. The 47-year old claimed she had asthma and that she suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure. The Gloucester-based fighter was caught on video training and fighting at karate events and even being presented with awards.
The Gloucester Crown court found her guilty and has told her to expect prison sentence. Thomas claimed benefits to the tune of £72,000 from mid-2007 to late 2013. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) says she pretended to be a single mother while she lived with her husband Kevin Thomas. If she claimed she lived in a common household she would have been ineligible for the benefits so she false reported the situation.
She also added medical issues to spice up her appeal. She claimed she would not walk even short distances due to the ͞brittle͟ asthma meanwhile revelations show that she was in a karate club and was even taking part in competitions. She won gold and bronze medals in Birmingham in mid-2013 according to the footages shown to the court.
In defence Thomas said her asthma specialist Dr Andrew White advised her to continually exercise and stay active. The doctor showed evidence in court that he actually did. However, there were other advices that he offered like staying away from smoking which tendered evidence showed she did not follow.
After the three day trial, the jurors unanimously found her guilty of all charges bordering on benefit fraud. She is currently awaiting sentence but the judge Gordon Bebb QC says she was facing immediate custodial sentence.