Benefit fraudster uncovered after murder in her home

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A WOMAN who admitted benefit fraud totalling £30,000 over a decade was only found out after a murder took place in her home.

Police were called to Lynda Black’s home in Leeds in 2005 after a visitor was shot and killed there.

Subsequent inquiries by police about her living arrangements were then passed to Leeds City Council.

Black, 37, appeared yesterday at Leeds Crown Court where she had earlier pleaded guilty to seven counts of making a false statement to obtain benefit and payment in relation to council tax benefit and housing benefit.

She had not declared she was living in a household with a man, as husband and wife, between 2000 to 2003, at a Leeds address.

The seven sample charges happened during the three-year period, but substantial overpayments were made throughout 10 years up until 2010.

The court heard that Black, of Blackmoor Road, Moortown, had lived in a house where the murder took place during 2005, although details of the killing were not disclosed in court.

Andrew Stranex, prosecuting, said: “Just as a visitor entered the home, someone else shot and killed the visitor. This meant the house was sealed off for some time until July 2006, as police investigated. Mrs Black was unable to return to it after she and her partner were arrested by police.”

The judge, Mr Recorder Mark Gargan, said while sentencing that Mrs Black, was of previous good character and had found a job, which she had held down since September 2010.

He said he had taken into account her guilty plea and that she had suffered considerable emotional distress following the investigation. The court also heard she had undergone surgery which enabled her to lose a considerable amount of weight.

He said: “You pleaded guilty to offences over a course of 10 years and claimed in excess of £30,000 in benefits. This is a course of conduct which must be marked by a custodial sentence.”

Mrs Black was sentenced to six months in prison, which was suspended for two years. She received a community order of 100 hours unpaid work plus a medium level of activity for 30 days.

There was no order for costs or for repayment of the money which she had falsely claimed.