Ex-soldier who climbed Kilimanjaro awaits sentence for benefits fraud

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A former soldier who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro while fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds in disability benefits will be sentenced today.

Mark Lloyd, 33, also won a triathlon and competed in the Phoenix Winter Games while receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP) from October 2014 to February 2016 due to what he said were severe restrictions to his mobility and ability to care for himself after suffering a back injury and PTSD in the Army, prosecutors said.

LLoyd, from Pontypridd, South Wales, denied dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain for himself but was convicted after a trial at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates' Court in July.

The court heard how Lloyd told benefits assessors that he needed walking aids, suffered pain when walking short distances and could not bend or stretch.

Lloyd, who was found to have overstated his needs, was paid £6,551.80 in benefits over a period when he climbed Africa's highest peak over five days of walking between eight and 12 hours per day. 

Lloyd also took part in the World Powerboat Championships in Malta and competed in a triathlon, and during the period completed a further claim form in which he stated his mobility and care needs had increased.

Laura Walters, a prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service's specialist fraud division, said: "Lloyd vastly overstated his care needs in order to claim the cash but he could not hide from the overwhelming evidence put forward by the prosecution, including photos of his participation in a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro and his participation in a triathlon."

He will be sentenced at the court this morning.