Leeds fraudster claimed benefit cash for fake baby

Sarah Phipps covers her face as she leaves Leeds Magistrates' Court
Sarah Phipps covers her face as she leaves Leeds Magistrates' Court
0
Have your say

A BENEFIT fraudster frlom Leeds has been sentenced after a court heard she managed to register the birth of a fake baby.

Sarah Phipps, 46, registered the false birth and when police called at her door, she then stuffed her jumper with clothes to make it look like she was

pregnant.

When officers searched her home, they found no evidence of a baby but did find an NHS ID card and stamp that had been stolen from a doctor’s bag a few months before.

Phipps, who has “problems distinguishing between reality and fantasy”, also claimed almost 3,000 pounds of Jobseeker’s Allowance under a false name.

Her string of offences came to light after she successfully registered the birth of a fake daughter, Camariah Ameka Kirkland, at Leeds Town Hall on August 30 last year.

Phipps used the name Sarah Kirkland, saying it was her married name.

She was “convincing enough” that the registrar of births didn’t think anything was suspicious. Leeds Crown Court heard it was only when further investigations were carried out did the lack of evidence to back it up become clear.

There was also no record of the mother or daughter receiving any medical treatment.

Graham Parkin, prosecuting, said police officers and a nurse attended her home in Leeds in September last year. He said: “She had a lump over her abdomen area, the officer thought she had clothing or a cushion up her jumper.”

Trying to cover her tracks Phipps came out with a catalogue of lies, including that the child had died, that “the baby was safe and well in Boston, America”

and that she hadn’t had the baby yet and was registering it in advance.

At an earlier hearing Phipps pleaded guilty to benefit fraud, wilfully making a false answer relating to a fictitious birth and theft.

She said she had been pregnant while in Jamaica and had miscarried, and when she returned she had been living homeless for a time.

Sentencing her to a two-year community order, Recorder Tom Bayliss QC told Phipps that she appeared at her door “having apparently disguised yourself in

the early stages of pregnancy and clutching the birth certificate”.

He said the “odd registration” of the baby “could have been another precursor to a benefit fraud”. Phipps denied the registration was done in an effort to gain benefits.

Andrew Semple, mitigating, told the court that Phipps, who had previous convictions before 2004, “has problems distinguishing between fantasy and

reality”.