Woman slapped with suspended sentence for faking pothole injury claim

A woman who fraudulently claimed she suffered a serious ankle injury after tripping on a pothole has been handed a suspended sentence.

Walsall Council house
Walsall Council house

Karen Britton, of Harwood Street, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to contempt of court after she fraudulently claimed damages against Walsall Council.

Ms Britton claimed that she had suffered the ankle injury as a result of a trip on a pothole in Bradford Street, Walsall, on May 5 2013.

But it was found that she sustained her injury trying to catch a neighbour's dog while drunk.

The 45-year-old's claim for damages was dismissed by His Honour Judge Gregory, sitting at Coventry County Court on May 4 2017.

Walsall Council then brought separate proceedings for contempt of court against Ms Britton at the High Court in Birmingham.

Sentencing Ms Britton to three months’ imprisonment on November 28, suspended for two years, His Honour Judge McKenna, sitting as a High Court judge, said: “Contempt of Court is an extremely serious matter. Fraudulent claims strike at the heart of the Civil Justice system.

"People should be in no doubt that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the pursuit of fraudulent claims will lead to immediate custodial sentences.”

Gareth Compton is a member of the Fraudulent Insurance Group at No5 Barristers’ Chambers. He is regularly instructed by both insurers and defendants in respect of cases where fraud is suspected.

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said the authority treated the issue of fraud 'very seriously' and said it would never hesitate in pursuing criminal prosecution in cases of 'fundamental dishonesty'.

In a statement, the leader said: "The council takes the issue of fraud very seriously and we will not hesitate to pursue a criminal prosecution where a finding of fundamental dishonesty is made in civil liability actions made against the council, as was the case with Ms Brittons claim."

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