Benefits cheat mum who said she could barely walk caught working in nursing home

A mum has been caught illegally claiming more than £21,000 in benefits after telling officials she could barely walk.

Collette Udall was spotted bathing, dressing and feeding frail and elderly residents in a nursing home, despite claiming disability living allowance for herself.

The 52 year old said she was so severely disabled she needed help getting out of bed and taking a shower.

She also claimed she struggled to walk without falling and could not even hold a saucepan full of water, the Manchester Evening News reports.

But investigators acting on a tip off began keeping watch on her and followed the Motability car which 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.

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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 turned up without a walking aid, sat down unaided and claimed she did not think she was doing anything wrong.

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

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Udall, from Chadderton, Oldham 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.

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

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.

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