A woman described as in a ‘frail and vulnerable situation’ has been given a community order after she admitted claiming a company pension from Greene King after the death of her parents.
Joan Hunt, 61, of Raynham Road, Bury St Edmunds had drawn the money out twice weekly to pay bills.
Today Ipswich Crown Court was told that following the death of her mother in December 2007, Hunt had gone on to collect £13,156 in pension payments she was not entitled to.
Her son had alerted Greene King to the situation when he began attempting to sort out her finances in January.
Hunt, who at an earlier hearing admitted an offence of theft, had no previous convictions, said prosecutor Robert Sadd.
Mr Sadd told the court that Hunt’s father had worked for Greene King and claimed a pension until his death which then passed to his widow.
While she notified the state pension authorities of her mother’s death, Hunt failed to tell Greene King and continued accepting the payments.
Mr Sadd said: “She didn’t stop voluntarily. It seems she was found out.”
Defending, Richard Potts said it had been the involvement of Hunt’s own family which had led to her ending up in court.
Sentencing Hunt, Judge Rupert Overbury said: “This is a frail, vulnerable lady who has never been in trouble before. She has done something that if she she had been in a better physical and mental state she would never have contemplated.”
Judge Overbury told Hunt: “I have decided this wasn’t a case of premeditated theft. At the time you were under great physical and personal strain from your parents’ death and the responsibility you were left with.”
The offence was a serious one but Hunt had expressed genuine regret and remorse, said the judge.
Judge Overbury made Hunt the subject of a 12 month community order with a requirement that during that time she will be under Probation Service supervision.