PJ Proby walks free as benefit fraud trial halted

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American-born pop singer PJ Proby has been cleared of benefit fraud after the prosecution dropped its case following the discovery of new evidence.

Proby, 73, was acquitted of nine counts relating to claims for various benefits yesterday after prosecutors found documents relating to the case in an office in Doncaster.

The singer-songwriter smiled in the dock at Worcester Crown Court as he was found not guilty on the directions of Judge John Cavell nine days into his trial.

The Department for Work and Pensions had alleged that Proby, who denied all the charges, cheated the benefits system out of more than £47,000 after informing the authorities he had just £5 in his bank account.

During Proby’s trial, the prosecution claimed that the singer failed to declare earnings from concert tours, savings and royalties while receiving income support, pension credit, council tax benefit and housing benefit.

Proby, who lives in Twyford, Worcestershire, stood trial under his real name, James Marcus Smith.