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‘Greedy’ mother who registered the birth of a FAKE BABY in Newcastle avoids jail

Jane Thurston, 43, registered a made up baby boy at Newcastle registry office

A ‘greedy’ mother who registered the birth of a fake baby so she could claim tax credit handouts has been spared jail.

Jane Thurston went to Newcastle registry office to report the made up birth of Harry James Sidney Thurston.

She said he was born at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, Northumberland, on May 20 2016.

Newcastle Crown Court heard police became involved when checks showed no record of the birth.

The 43-year-old initially told more lies to explain her behaviour, including a claim that she had given birth to the child in Leeds, not Northumberland.

But the mother, who has had real children before and after the fake birth, eventually confessed she had created the fictitious baby so she could claim tax credits.

It is unclear whether her claim for credits was a success.

Thurston, of Howe Street, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to making a false declaration of a birth, which is an offence from the year 1911 that carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

Judge John Thackray sentenced Thurston to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with rehabilitation requirements.

The judge told her: ‘You registered the birth of a child and that child never existed.

‘Having been detected, you firstly lied to the police and denied you were the person who made the registration.

‘You then tried a second lie, that the birth existed and you were carrying out a parallel registration.

‘Both of those explanations were lies. You made a fictitious registration and your motivation was greed, you wanted to obtain child tax credits, that was your motivation.’

The judge said the offence was a ‘serious matter’ but said Thurston poses a low risk of re-offending and has had an extremely difficult life.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court the authorities alerted the police when no record of the birth could be found.

Mr Bunch said: ‘The birth did not appear on the central register for that hospital and further checks were carried out by the registry office in Morpeth, which confirmed that birth had not been reported by the hospital and in fact no such birth had taken place there.

‘The registration was completed by the defendant in her own name and gave an address in Byker.

‘Having identified that the birth was fictitious, the police were contacted.’

The court heard Thurston was arrested in November last year.

She was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with rehabilitation requirements

She was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with rehabilitation requirements

She initially denied she had been responsible for the registration but later claimed she had given birth to the child at Leeds Infirmary and it had been registered by the father, in West Yorkshire, where the baby would live, and she had made a parallel registration in Newcastle.

Mr Bunch said Thurston, who has previous convictions for dishonesty, eventually went on to confess that there was no such baby.

He added: ‘She went on to say she had been claiming child tax credit for the child. She said she apologised for doing that.’

David Carmichael, defending, said Thurston had been in a relationship and did fall pregnant in the months before the offence but had suffered a miscarriage.

Mr Carmichael said it was ‘pressure’ from her than partner that prompted Thurston to register the fictitious birth.

Mr Carmichael added: ‘It is accepted that was motivated for financial gain.’

The court heard after the fake registration Thurston split from her then partner and  Started another relationship, which has since broke down but resulted in the birth of a child last summer.

Mr Carmichael said Thurston is a ‘vulnerable’ person.