Great Britain

Scam gran, 65, who lied she was blind to claim £1m in benefits branded ‘craftiest woman ever’ by clueless husband

A SCAMMING gran who said she was blind in order to claim £1million in benefits has been branded the "craftiest woman ever" by her husband.

John Pomfrey, 60, had no idea his wife Christina, 65, was lying about being completely blind and wheelchair bound for 15 years.

Christina Pomfrey, from Runcorn, Cheshire, used two identities and claimed everything from income support to housing benefit to disability living allowance.

Last month, a court heard how the gran "grossly exaggerated" her disabilities to falsely claim more than £1 million in benefits.

It meant at one stage she was raking in £13,000 a month - five times the earnings of an average Brit.

'CRAFTIEST WOMAN'

Clueless Mr Pomfrey, who married Christina in 2005, was none the wiser.

He told the Daily Mail: "People think I must have known what she was up to and where all the money went, but the answer to both is I don’t have a clue.

"She has destroyed my life and I cannot forgive her. She is the craftiest woman I have ever known."

Pomfrey had told her husband she was a millionaire from the moment they met at a Butlins Disco in Skegness.

She said she had seven newsagents dotted around Liverpool, when in reality, she was sacked from one for stealing money out of the till.

She even bought me an MG car just months after we met and, at the start, she paid for some of the holidays we went on in places like the Caribbean.

John Pomfrey

Mr Pomfrey said: "She was bright and bubbly and everyone liked her because she passed herself off as kind and generous — she never asked me for a penny, right up until the end.

"I fell for her because I was at a low ebb after my previous wife of 21 years left me for someone else. Tina told me she would look after me and that I should not worry about anything.

"She even bought me an MG car just months after we met and, at the start, she paid for some of the holidays we went on in places like the Caribbean.

"We went to the Dominican Republic four times, Madeira a few times or even just places like Benidorm.

"I insisted I wanted to pay half after the first couple of times. I now think she picked on me because I was another name, in another county, that she could use for her cons. I feel a fool."

BUSTED

The scamming gran was finally caught out when surveillance by investigators showed her driving, walking while reading a newspaper and collecting her grandkids from school.

She was jailed for three years and eight months after pleading guilty to multiple counts of fraud, false accounting and making or supplying articles for use in frauds.

When confronted with the evidence, she said she was relieved to be finally caught and claimed she had given the money away to charity and those in need.

But she admitted she had spent cash on numerous holidays, cosmetic treatment and clothes.

'STOLE FROM CITIZENS'

Sentencing at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Judge Sophie McKone told Christina last month: "You grossly exaggerated your disabilities in pretending you were completely blind and that your multiple sclerosis was of such severity that you required significant and costly care.

"This was money to which you were not entitled. Over 15 years, you stole £1 million from your fellow citizens. Money which would have gone to people who justly deserved it, money that could have gone to schools and hospitals.

"This was a determined benefit fraud on a substantial scale. You claimed you spent money on others - whether or not that is true, you spent some money on holidays, beauty treatment, clothes, restaurant and hotels."

The court heard that despite Pomfrey's guilty plea and remorse to investigators in December 2017, she continued her deceit while on bail.

Her daughter, Aimee Brown, 34, from Runcorn, also received a 18-month jail term, suspended for two years, after she laundered £80,000 of Pomfrey's cash into her bank account and kept more than £70,000 for herself.

She was "hoodwinked" by her mum and had no knowledge of the extent of her lies, but had entered a guilty plea to money laundering because she did not act on her suspicions, the court heard.

The court was also told the full amount of £1,010,090 fraudulently claimed in various benefits had been spent by Pomfrey.

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