Benefits cheat hid mother's body in freezer
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal
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A man who hid his mother's body in a freezer so he could continue claiming her benefits has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Philipe Brough pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to fraud and preventing a lawful and decent burial.
Police discovered the remains of his 90-year-old mother at the Portsmouth flat they shared last August.
She had been dead since around the end of February.
Brough, 54, told the court he had covered up his mother's death in order to continue claiming her pension and the money he was paid to be her full-time career.
A post-mortem found that she had died of natural causes.
Judge Roger Hetherington said: "What is inexcusable is to embark on the elaborate course that you did involving a considerable deception over a period of time in dealing with your mother's death in the way that you did."
However, the judge added that he accepted Brough had acted out of an "emotional inability to cope".
Portsmouth City Council initially grew suspicious when they tried to contact Mrs Brough last August concerning planned refurbishments at the flat she shared with her son.
Brough refused to give officers access and said his mother had moved to London.
When this proved to be a lie, police arrested Brough on a murder charge and discovered his mother's body in a freezer.
Prosecutor Martin Booth told the court that police found the body of an elderly female dressed in a nightgown and frozen solid in the freezer.
Brough managed to fraudulently claim £5,390 in benefits but had since repaid £2,000, the court heard.
Defending Brough, Matthew Jewell explained that the fraudster had a history of depression and had not planned on committing fraud.
The offender was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.