A MUM who claimed she needed a wheelchair claimed £20,000 in disability benefits was pictured doing the splits – while training for kickboxing tournaments.
Tammy Horton,31, claimed her chronic pelvic disease and fibromyalgia meant she could barely walk with sticks.
She said she was stuck in her pyjamas all day because it was too painful to get dressed and could not even collect her own prescriptions.
But the mum posted pictures of her in a gym while she trained daily with two local kickboxing clubs.
She regularly appeared in her local paper after winning medals in bouts – and even posted pictures of her out clubbing with pals on a hen-do.
DWP officers were tipped off and began investigating the fighter, who was claiming disability living allowance and Personal Independent Payment (PIP).
During a two-year period they found she competed in the 2016 CIMAC British Open, at Windsor, and Northamptonshire Open tournament.
She won a silver medal at a tournament in Solihull in January 2017 competing for the Boston Evolution Martial Arts Club.
The following month she was a runner-up in her category at an international event held at Watford. She also competed for a Spilsby club.
Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, told Lincoln crown court “She claimed disability living allowance and subsequently PIPs over a three year period.
“She said she had serious and chronic conditions. She said she was limited to walking with crutches or using a wheelchair and that she was on morphine to control the pain.”
Miss Hardy said that back in October 2014 the DWP received a complaint that Horton’s benefit claim was fictitious but at the time she told investigators that the complaint was malicious.
She said: “In February 2015 she made a complaint for PIP. A health assessor came out to see her and she confirmed the extent of her illness.
“She completed a lengthy application process and in interview she had such severe pelvic inflammatory disease that it affected her mobility.
This was a planned, detailed, gross deception that went on for several years. It was just inexcusable.
Judge Andrew Easteal
“She said she was in constant pain every day. She said she did her food shopping online or sometimes would do click and collect. She said her husband would collect her prescription.
“She told how she would live in her pyjamas for the majority of the day because it was too painful to get dressed, Lincoln crown court heard.
“She said she didn’t like going out because she was too anxious. She said she would struggle to walk more than 20 metres.
“She was asked to perform a number of physical tasks which she said she could not complete. As a result she was awarded PIP.
“An investigation subsequently showed that Miss Horton as far back as January 2014 had in fact joined a kickboxing club and was a regular member.
“She received grading certificates and competed in competitions. This was a lady who expressed that she needed an extra banister fitted just to be able to get up and down stairs.
CONSTANT PAIN CLAIMS
“She was placed under surveillance. That showed her driving to drop off her children at school and shopping. She was seen walking independently without support.
“She was brought in for interview but denied claiming any benefits dishonestly. She said her pain varied but was always there.
“She said she had attended kickboxing clubs in Spilsby and Boston saying that it gave her mental focus.
“This was a deliberate misrepresentation given to the health assessor. The answers were very detailed. They were backed up in interview verbally and on paper.”
In total she received benefits totalling £21,928 to which she was not entitled.
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Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, accused her of “extraordinary arrogance” and “deceit,” adding: “This was a planned, detailed, gross deception that went on for several years. It was just inexcusable.”
Horton, Stickney, Lincs, admitting charges of failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstance between 5 February 2014 and 25 March 2015.
She also admitted making a false statement to obtain PIP between 25 March 2015 and 10 May 2017. She was given a 10 month jail sentence suspended for two years.
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