£137,000 benefits scam pair jailed

A couple who lived a luxury lifestyle on the back of a £137,000 benefits swindle were both jailed for 16 months today.

Suzie Dwyer, 36, claimed for more than a decade that she was a lone parent renting a house from Peter Campbell, 35, Liverpool Crown Court was told.



But benefit fraud investigators discovered they were not only living as a couple in a £370,000 house, he is also the father of her three children.



During their fraud, between August 1999 and November 2009, the couple enjoyed holidays to luxury resorts and built a large extension to their home in one of Merseyside's most exclusive suburbs.



When the benefit cheats were finally caught out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), they had falsely claimed a total of £137,382.45, the court heard.



The pair, of Tithebarn Road, Knowsley Village, were sentenced today after Campbell earlier pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud relating to £50,000 in Housing Benefit and Dwyer admitted 17 charges in connection with £87,000 of Income Support and Council Tax benefit.



She sobbed in the dock as Kevin Slack, for the prosecution, outlined the case against them.



BMW driver Campbell, a member of his local golf club, followed proceedings with his hand placed on her knee.



He runs his father's electronics firm, which employs 15 people, Mr Slack said.



The barrister added: "Suzie Dwyer claimed benefit as a single parent when she was living with Peter Campbell, a man who was well paid in his work and well able to take financial care for his family. He claimed to be the landlord rather than her partner."



In a series of benefit claim forms, Dwyer dishonestly stated that Campbell was not related to her children, the prosecutor added.



In 2000, he sent a letter to Knowsley Borough Council supporting her claim and saying he lived with his parents and was renting the house for £100 a week. That same year they took a holiday in Florida together, Mr Slack said.



"It was the first of a series of foreign holidays which the defendants enjoyed while falsely claiming benefit," he added.



In 2001, as they claimed she was paying him £105 a week in rent, they took a holiday to Tunisia. The following year they went to Barbados and in 2004 enjoyed a Caribbean cruise.



The couple moved to Tithebarn Road in 2005 when Campbell took out a mortgage for £379,000. Again they produced a tenancy agreement, for £140 a week, which claimed she lived alone with the children and he was nothing more than their landlord.



In his mortgage application, Campbell stated he was earning £70,000 at the electronics firm, which employs 15 people, the court heard.



He later re-mortgaged the house to build a "sizeable" extension, Mr Slack added, around the same time the couple had a holiday in Marbella, Spain.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game