St Albans teacher exposed as benefits fraudster

PUBLISHED: 11:04 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:23 19 April 2017

St Albans Magistrates Court

St Albans Magistrates Court

Archant

A St Albans teacher has been ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid community work after she was exposed as a benefits fraudster.

Debbie Lavelle, 50, received £9,909 in council tax and housing benefit between June 11, 2012 and January 13 2016.

However St Albans magistrates were told today (April 19) she did not declare £298,000 she received following a divorce.

Her counsel, Pretti Sarin, said: “It was not a fraud at the outset.

“She is a teacher, and had a messy divorce.”

She said Lavelle, who works as a supply teacher for two days a week, had paid the money back.

Lavelle, of Hill End Lane, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to get benefits money.

Magistrates were told she suffered from anxiety and depression, and was previously of good character.

They passed a 12 month community order, with conditions that she carries out 80 hours’ unpaid work, pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

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CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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