A disabled benefits cheat who swindled over £10,000 by lying to the authorities about living with her lesbian lover has been spared jail.
Bridget Agar, 45, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, claimed her civil partner Lynne Jones had only moved into her home in May 2014.
But a court heard the pair had in fact lived together in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffs., since 2008.
Agar continued with the lie when she was quizzed by police and even asked Miss Jones to make a statement backing up her story.
But she admitted she hadn’t told the truth a week later after officers warned her Miss Jones would also be interviewed.
Wheelchair-bound Agar pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly failing to notify the authorities of a change of circumstance at Burton Magistrates Court on August 2.
But she was spared jail when she was handed a three-month prison sentenced suspended for 12 months.
She was also given two further three-month suspended sentences to be served concurrently.
Agar illegally claimed a total of £10,152 in housing benefit, employment support allowance and income support between April 2012 and November 2014.
The court heard in June 2014 she notified the local authority that her son had moved out and her carer Miss Jones had moved in.
But they found evidence that Miss Jones had given Agar’s home as her address since 2008.
Prosecutor Moira Bell said Agar wouldn’t have been entitled to the same amount of benefits because her partner was worked as a domestic assistant for Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation trust.
She added: “This lady was claiming income support because she was alone and had no other income.
“But evidence became available that she had failed to declare that she was living with her civil partner from February 24, 2012.
“Agar was interviewed under caution in 2014 and said she was aware of the rules.
“She said Miss Jones had been caring for her for six years. She said Miss Jones lived with her sister in Sutton in Ashfield.
She said: “She asked Miss Jones to make a statement to confirm this, but then felt bad because Miss Jones is not a liar and it was not right to ask her to lie for her.
“She admitted that Jones had lived in her house since 2008 and had made false declarations.
“She admitted she knew her benefit would be reduced and was dishonest in not declaring this.”
The court heard benefits which had been claimed illegally before 2012 are also being reclaimed by the local authorities but were not being considered as part of the case.
Sonia Lawrence, defending, said: “Any amount of money that is taken from the public purse is taken very seriously.
“When Agar was first interviewed she gave one story and seven days later she told the truth.
“She has had multiple sclerosis for 22 years and is now immobile. She struggles every day of her life.
“None of this she uses as an excuse for what she has done and she fully accepts that she should have told the relevant departments.
“The only person to blame for the situation she is in is herself.”