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Mother-of-one, 52, gets community order for scrounging £21,000 in benefits


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Collette Udall, 52, (pictured outside Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court) from Chadderton in Oldham told welfare officials she was severely disabled

A mother-of-one who scrounged £21,000 in handouts by claiming she could barely walk was caught bathing, dressing and feeding frail and elderly residents in a nursing home.

Collette Udall, 52, from Chadderton in Oldham told welfare officials she was so severely disabled she needed assistance getting out of bed and taking a shower or bath. 

She also claimed she struggled to walk without falling and could not even hold a saucepan full of water.

But investigators acting on a tip off began keeping watch on Udall and followed her Motability car that  she was awarded due to her alleged disabilities.

They found she was working in a care home assisting residents with bathing and showering and helping them up the stairs. 

She was also seen cleaning kitchen, bathroom and living room areas and taking out the bins. 

It emerged she told her employers she had no medical difficulties when she filled out her job application form.

When she was called in for interview Udall brazenly turned up without a walking aid, sat down unaided and claimed she did not think she was doing anything wrong. 

Collette Udall outside Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, where she was facing benefit fraud charges

She was ordered to complete a two-year community order

Collette Udall outside Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, where she was facing benefit fraud charges

Taxpayers lost £21,316.05 over a six-year period due to her fraud.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Udall, admitted failing to notify a change of circumstances between December 2013 and 5th February 2019. 

She was ordered to complete a two year community order. She is paying back the money in installments but the monthly amount is not known.

At Minshull Street Crown Court (pictured), Manchester, Udall, admitted failing to notify a change of circumstances between December 2013 and February 2019

At Minshull Street Crown Court (pictured), Manchester, Udall, admitted failing to notify a change of circumstances between December 2013 and February 2019

The court heard Udall began claiming disability living allowance on September 16 2002.

Prosecutor Keith Sutton said: ‘That claim was based on her application stating what medicals conditions she had and it was on the understanding she would notify the DWP of any change in her circumstances.

‘She asserted she could walk for no distance at all without feeling discomfort, she had difficulties walking every day with stumbles and falls.

Taxpayers lost £21,316.05 over a six-year period due to Collette Udall's  fraud

 Taxpayers lost £21,316.05 over a six-year period due to Collette Udall’s  fraud

‘She required help getting out of bed, needed help getting into or out of the bath or shower and she couldn’t cope with buttons or gripping items.

‘She said she needed help going up and down stairs, she couldn’t help a saucepan full of water and tended never to cook a meal for herself.

‘But from December 17 2013 she was employed as a care worker and she filled in two health declaration forms in the course of the employment. 

‘The first in May 2014 was in answer the question ‘have you had any medical condition’ and she answered ‘no.’ On a similar form in 2017 she answered ‘yes’ but she referred to an operation she had had on her foot.

‘She would drive from her home to the home of service users in a vehicle she had from the Motability scheme.

‘Her duties included dressing, preparing meals, assisting the service users with bathing, showering, assisting them moving up and down stairs plus cleaning the kitchen, bathroom and living room areas and taking out the bins.

‘There are marked similarities between the tasks she could perform for others but which she asserted she couldn’t perform for herself.

Investigators acting on a tip off began keeping watch on Udall (pictured) and followed her Motability car which she was awarded due to her alleged disabilities

Investigators acting on a tip off began keeping watch on Udall (pictured) and followed her Motability car which she was awarded due to her alleged disabilities

‘She was asked in for interview but walked into the interview room without assistance, sat down unaided. She confirmed the details that had been included on her claim form, she confirmed the details were correct and if anything her condition had got worse.

‘She confirmed the details were correct saying she was in severe pain which was worse in the mornings. She said it took her ‘a while to get up in the morning’ and she needed her daughter to help her. 

‘She confirmed she was working as a care worker and claimed she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong. The money is being paid back in instalments.

Udall (pictured) was ordered to complete a two year community order

Udall (pictured) was ordered to complete a two year community order

In mitigation defence barrister Emily Landale said: ‘She has provided a number of documents of medical difficulties those are there and she would struggle if she were to be sent immediately to custody.

‘She has never felt so ashamed and embarrassed in her life.’

Sentencing Judge John Potter told Udall: ‘In order to claim you inflated a medical condition which had previously entitled you to claim. Had you told the agencies the correct facts then the money you obtained would not have been paid to you.

‘You were discovered because from December 2013 you were in employment as a care worker. In the course of that employment you made it clear you didn’t in fact suffer from the severity of disability that you claimed you had.

‘When that serious dishonesty had been clarified you were interviewed and asked to explain how it was you were working without such difficulties. You chose to tell a succession of untruths in the course of your interview.

‘The payment paid to you is money that you were not entitled to, you effectively dishonestly obtained it from the taxpayer. That could have been used instead of lining your pockets to employ care assistants and nurses in the public sector. Instead the money went into your pocket.’

Udall will also have to complete 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement and was placed under a three month curfew 9pm to 7am.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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