Mother from Berkeley who claimed benefits by pretending her son had cancer has lost appeal to have sentence reduced at Gloucester Crown Court
A 36-YEAR-OLD Berkeley mum who shaved her young son's head and pretended he had cancer to cheat the State out of £85,000 benefits has lost an appeal against her three years and nine months jail term.
At the Court of Appeal in London, her lawyer argued that the sentence was too severe and she should have received only 34 months imprisonment.
But solicitor Joe Maloney's arguments were rejected by the three appeal judges and the sentence was upheld.
The mother was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court last November after she admitted cruelty to her son, eight fraud charges and forging a doctor’s letter.
The appeal judges said they found that Judge Jamie Tabor QC had taken all the relevant factors into account and had imposed the right sentence.
Mr Maloney told the appeal court he believed the judge should have given her a full one-third discount off her sentence for pleading guilty.
Judge Tabor had allowed her only 25 per cent discount because her guilty pleas were not at the first available opportunity.
Mr Maloney also argued that Judge Tabor had set the wrong starting point of five years for the offences whereas it shuld have been only four years three months.
The appeal judges rejected both arguments.
Mr Maloney said after the hearing: "My client was present for the hearing and was naturally disappointed that her appeal failed.
"But she was gracious in defeat. She knows that she has now exhausted the legal process and can now get her head down and do the rest of her sentence."
In November, the crown court heard that the mum had put her boy through hell from the age of six by forcing him to live as a cancer sufferer.
She raked in £85,898 in fake benefit and tax credit claims – jetting off on holidays including a visit to Disney World in Florida where she kept her son in a wheelchair to queue-jump theme park rides.
Her husband was also duped into believing their son was suffering from cancer, the court heard.
Jailing her in November, Judge Tabor said he was satisfied she had caused 'undoubted long-term psychological harm' to the boy.