A mother who was paid over £20,000 in disability benefits after claiming she could barely walk has been exposed as a fraud after investigators discovered she was a kickboxer taking part in major tournaments.
Tammy Horton, who lives near Boston in Lincolnshire, was granted disability living allowance and then Personal Independent Payments (PIP) after claiming to be so immobile that she used a wheelchair or walked with sticks.
And she told the Department of Work and Pensions that she was so badly affected that she spent most of the day living in her pyjamas because her condition made it too painful even to get dressed.
But investigators acting on a tip-off found that she had joined a kickboxing club and regularly attended sessions for nearly two years while claiming benefits.
During that time she competed in a number of tournaments. In 2016 she competed in the CIMAC British Open at Windsor and also in the Northamptonshire Open tournament. She won a silver medal at a tournament in Solihull in January 2017 competing for the Boston Evolution Martial Arts Club. The following month she was a runner-up in her category at an international event held at Watford. She also competed for a Spilsby club.
Horton, 31, of Folly Lane, Stickney, Lincs, admitting charges of failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstance between 5 February 2014 and 25 March 2015 and making a false statement to obtain PIP between 25 March 2015 and 10 May 2017. In total she received benefits totalling £21,928 to which she was not entitled.
She was given a 10 month jail sentence suspended for two years.
Edna Leonard, in mitigation, said that Horton does suffer from illnesses but was not entitled to the level of benefits she was receiving. She said that her chronic pelvic disease is recorded. She also suffers from fibromyalgia. She is bi polar and has mental health difficulties. She would have been entitled to some assistance but not what she got.
Miss Leonard said that Horton has a young daughter whose life would be ruined if she were jailed immediately and urged that she be given a suspended sentence.
Horton wept during the hearing and apologised from the dock telling the judge “Sorry”.