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Haverhill man found guilty of £80,000 benefit fraud

Latest news from the Haverhill Echo, haverhillecho.co.uk, @haverhill on Twitter
Latest news from the Haverhill Echo, haverhillecho.co.uk, @haverhill on Twitter

A man from Haverhill has been convicted of illegally claiming £80,000 in benefits.

Henry Stockings, 56, had denied three offences but was yesterday (Thursday) unanimously found guilty of all by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.

During a four day trial the jury heard allegations that while Stockings was being paid income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit he was living at an address in Mallow Walk with the mother of his two children.

The prosecution said that Stockings had signed declarations to say that only he and his children were resident at the rented property.

Benefit investigators found that Stockings’ partner Frances Brewer was also living at the property, claimed prosecutor Laura Kenyon.

Stockings pleaded not guilty to failing to notify St Edmundsbury Borough Council of a change in circumstances that would affect his entitlement to council tax benefit between April 2003 and April 2012.

He also denied two offences of failing to make a similar notification to the Department of Work and Pensions between March 2002 and January 2009 and again between July 2010 and July 2011.

The claims involved £45,200 in income support, £28,800 in housing benefit and £6,000 in council tax benefit.

The jury were given details of documentation including a joint tenancy agreement signed by Ms Brewer, her name appearing for that address on the electoral register and her mail being sent there.

Giving evidence, Stockings denied having been untruthful when he complete claim forms for the three different benefits.

He said that Ms Brewer had not lived with him for more than 15 years following the breakdown of their relationship.

Stockings claimed that Ms Brewer was an infrequent visitor to the house in Mallow Walk but had agreed that she could use it as an address for her mail.

After enquiring about having Ms Brewers name taken off the tenancy agreement, Stockings said nothing more was done after he was told that she would have to do it in person.

After the jury returned guilty verdicts, Mr Recorder David Pugh told Stockings that he would be granted bail until he returns to court next month to be sentenced.

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