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Fugitive pensioner, 66, who fled to Berlin after cheating taxpayers out of £624,000 may have died

A fugitive pensioner who fled to Berlin after cheating taxpayers out of £624,000 in one of Britain’s biggest benefit frauds may have died, a court heard.

Frances Noble, 66, was jailed in her absence for four years nine months in June last year in what the judge said was possibly the largest fraud of its type to come before the English courts.

Extradition proceedings to bring Noble back from Germany began in December, but today at St Albans Crown Court a proceeds of crime hearing against her was adjourned for evidence of her death to be produced.

Noble had been sentenced, along with her daughter and son-in-law Laura and Philip Borrell, for their part in the fraud on Hertfordshire County Council.

Frances Noble (left), 66, was jailed in her absence for four years nine months in June last year. Pictured with fellow convict daughter Laura Borrell (right)

Noble had been sentenced, along with her daughter and son-in-law Laura and Philip Borrell (above), for their part in the fraud on Hertfordshire County Council

Noble had been sentenced, along with her daughter and son-in-law Laura and Philip Borrell (above), for their part in the fraud on Hertfordshire County Council

Laura, now 45, was jailed for three years nine months and Philip, now 47, was jailed for four years three months. 

Noble had pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. 

The Borrells had pleaded guilty to money laundering and had all been living in Weston, Hertfordshire.

Tens of thousands of pounds of the care package money was passed onto the Borrells, who went on luxury North American holidays in Canada, San Francisco, Boston and Orlando.

Between 2005 and 2018, Noble convinced Hertfordshire County Council that her condition was so serious that she required intensive round-the-clock home care at her then bungalow in Datchworth near Stevenage.

But she was seen by her neighbours walking her dog Bertie early in the morning and was videoed by one as she walked around her back garden. 

Investigators watched as she took in a Tesco home delivery which she was able to unpack.

The Borrells themselves deceived ITV's This Morning show (pictured), telling Philip Scofield and Holly Willoughby she was one of the youngest people ever to have dementia

The Borrells themselves deceived ITV’s This Morning show (pictured), telling Philip Scofield and Holly Willoughby she was one of the youngest people ever to have dementia

The three had moved to Germany with her daughter and son-in-law after the investigation began

The three had moved to Germany with her daughter and son-in-law after the investigation began

Prosecutor Andrew Johnson said when one neighbour saw Noble in her back garden she pulled a hood over her face and said: ‘I am not Frances. I am her carer.’

Over a 13-year period, between August 1, 2005, and November 30, 2018, Frances Noble had obtained £624,047.15.

On one occasion supposedly bed-ridden Noble was seen being pushed in a wheelchair by her daughter around the Bluewater Shopping Centre. 

Noble, who had claimed she had been on a liquid diet, was filmed eating with her daughter in a restaurant. 

A care worker also turned up at her home to find her standing up, naked in the bathroom, washing her hair.

When neighbours reported her, Noble claimed to her Housing Association and the police that she had been the victim of harassment and hate crimes. 

She even persuaded the Housing Association to raise the height of her fence to prevent her being caught out again.

Extradition proceedings to bring Noble back from Germany began in December, but today at St Albans Crown Court (pictured) a proceeds of crime hearing against her was adjourned for evidence of her death to be produced

Extradition proceedings to bring Noble back from Germany began in December, but today at St Albans Crown Court (pictured) a proceeds of crime hearing against her was adjourned for evidence of her death to be produced

The investigators found a video she made inside her home in June 2013. She was walking around and filmed herself in a mirror.

The Borrells themselves deceived ITV’s This Morning show, telling Philip Scofield and Holly Willoughby she was one of the youngest people ever to have dementia.

The three had moved to Germany with her daughter and son-in-law after the investigation began.

Philip Borrell, who is being held at The Mount Prison near Hemel Hempstead, was also due to appear in court for the proceeds of crime hearing. He refused to leave the prison.

Judge Richard Foster said his solicitors should visit him the prison and a date will be fixed for a new hearing.

Laura Borrell, who is serving her sentence at Peterborough jail, is due in court on Thursday for a similar hearing.

She is said to have benefited by £278,813.65 from her part in the criminal activity.

When he passed the sentences, Judge Foster said: ‘This is possibly the largest fraud of its type to come before the English courts.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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