Woman claims marathon runner husband made her help him with benefit fraud

Said he was '70% disabled'


Benefits fraudster caught running London Marathon

A Kent woman is claiming that her husband forced her to help him claim disability benefits - despite the fact that he was a marathon runner.

Graham Totterdell, 72, said he needed a Zimmer frame to walk, and that he could only wash, dress and go to the loo with his wife's help.

See also: Benefits cheat who could 'barely walk' caught snorkelling

See also: Benefits cheat caught working as a binman

And his wife April, 48, filled in and signed his benefit application forms, saying he was '70% disabled'. As a result, Totterdell was able to claim £38,491.60 in benefits between September 2009 and May 2015.

However, Canterbury Crown Court heard that Totterdell was a lot fitter than he and his wife made out, Kent Online reports.

"You will be surprised to know that during this time he was running marathons and half-marathons, running under the name Graham King. King is Mrs Totterdell's maiden name," said prosecutor Ian Foinette.

"He twice ran the London Marathon in his own name and he was running in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015. Yet during this time, she described her husband as a frail old man who won't leave the house."

Mr Totterdell has already been found guilty of benefit fraud, and will be sentenced at a later date.

But his wife is claiming that she signed the forms under duress.

"What she is saying is that her husband put her under such fear that she had no alternative but to go along with this criminal enterprise, fearing she would either be killed or seriously injured," said Foinette.

Following the hearing, the jury was discharged from returning a verdict, and a new trial has been scheduled for February next year.

There's been a spate of cases lately in which people have claimed disability benefits in spite of being very far from disabled.

Earlier this week, for example, we reported on how 58-year-old Linda Hoey, from Tamworth, claimed a whacking £65,244 in Disability Living Allowance (DLA), despite being able to snorkel, scuba dive and ride a quad bike.

A couple of weeks ago, George Beacham was found guilty of nabbing £45,000 in DLA, saying he could barely walk, despite working as a binman.

However, last year, the government released figures showing that benefits fraud is at a record low level, with around 5,000 people referred for prosecution.

"Benefit fraud is a serious crime taking money away from those in genuine need. That's why our investigators work tirelessly to target criminals and bring them to justice," commented welfare reform minister Lord Freud.

"We are implementing vital reforms to improve detection, prevention and recovery to protect taxpayers' money."

Victims of scams and fraud

Victims of scams and fraud