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Desperate mother sold home to pay off son's drug debts, court heard
2:46pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
A DESPERATE mother who sold her home to pay off dangerous drug dealers hounding her son faced jail yesterday for failing to declare the windfall.
Eileen Morgan said she did not tell the authorities about the £100,000 sale because the money was only going to be in her account a short time.
The 60-year-old claimed Income Support and council tax and housing benefit worth more than £30,000 which she would not have been entitled to.
A judge at Teesside Crown Court told her that the "peculiar" circumstances allowed him to pass what he called "an extremely unusual" sentence.
Morgan, of Myrtle Court, Thornaby, near Stockton, was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence after she admitted two charges of fraud.
Judge Tony Briggs told her: "It is unfortunate to see a woman of your age and good character at the crown court for the first time when they are 60.
"You are here for a serious matter. This is an extremely unusual result for this amount of money and offences committed over such a period of time."
The court heard how Morgan claimed she had savings of just £1,850 and pocketed the benefits for four years up until her arrest in November 2011.
Prosecutor Rebecca Brown told Judge Briggs that Morgan told police her son owed money to drug dealers and loan sharks and she was trying to help him.
Morgan's son wrote a letter to the judge telling him how he has since battled with his heroin addiction and is now on a prescribed replacement course.
Rachel Dyson, mitigating, said: "It seems the risk he has put his mother in of an immediate custodial sentence has given him a final wake-up call.
"She did have some grave difficulties with her son. It is as a result of threats of violence that were made towards the family about the outstanding debt that she sold their home."
The court heard how Morgan moved into rented accommodation after the sale and is the sole carer for her severely disabled daughter, who is in her forties.
Miss Dyson said a motor home and a pick-up truck were bought from compensation for being mis-sold payment protection insurance not from benefits.