Maxine Carr charged with benefit fraud and deception

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The Independent Online

Maxine Carr has been charged with benefit fraud and fabricating qualifications for job applications.

The Crown Prosecution Service said yesterday that Carr, the former girlfriend of the convicted murderer, Ian Huntley, would be prosecuted on 12 counts of "deception and obtaining pecuniary advantage" between 1996 and 2002.

The details emerged as the Cambridgeshire Chief Const-able, Tom Lloyd, admitted his force had made "significant errors" in its checking system that allowed Huntley to get the job as a caretaker at Soham Village College. In evidence to the Bichard inquiry, which is examining how Huntley slipped through the net just months before he murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, Mr Lloyd said he had ordered a review to examine the reliability of other vetting checks at the time.

Carr was sentenced in December to three years in jail for conspiring to pervert the course of justice after Huntley was jailed for life for the murders of the 10-year-olds. She has been in jail since August 2002and must be released in May, by which time she will have served half her sentence.

Carr, 26, is accused of grossly exaggerating her qualifications - wrongly claiming she had up to 12 GCSEs and one A Level - when applying for five jobs, including the post of general assistant at St Andrew's Church of England Primary School in Soham. She is also accused of three counts of illegally obtaining £375 of housing benefit by falsely claiming she was living alone in Scunthorpe, when she was allegedly living with Huntley.

If the charges are dealt with in a magistrates' court she could be jailed for up to six months, but if they are heard at a Crown Court the maximum penalty for the fraud is 10 years, and for making the false job applications five years. But the relatively minor nature of the allegations means Carr is likely to receive only a short sentence if she is found guilty.

She is due to appear at Peterborough magistrates' court on 26 March. She faces charges of lying about her qualifications to obtain a job in 1996 at a seafood packing plant in Grimsby; lying about her qualifications in failed applications for shop assistant positions at Bhs in Scunthorpe in 2001 and at the One Stop Shop in Soham in 2002. She is also accused of exaggerating her qualifications to obtain a job as a temporary general assistant at St Andrew's Church of England Primary School in Soham in 2002 and three months later as a full-time general assistant at the school.

She faces four counts of housing benefit fraud and three counts of using false information to obtain benefits.