Man denies lying about living with partner to claim £80,000 in benefits, court hears

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man has denied lying about his relationship with the mother of his two children in order to claim more than £80,000 in benefits.

Henry Stockings, 56, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that he hadn’t lived with Frances Brewer for more than 15 years following the breakdown of their relationship and he only saw her at family functions and when she visited their two sons.

He accepted that both their names were on a joint tenancy agreement for a property in Mallow Walk, Haverhill, but denied this was because they were living together.

He said he had enquired about having Ms Brewer’s name removed from the agreement when they split up and was told she would have to go in person to do it. She had done nothing about it and he hadn’t thought he was doing anything wrong by keeping her name on it.

Stockings said he had been happy for his former partner’s mail to be sent to his address and she would collect it when she visited the sons.

He denied being dishonest when he filled in forms for housing and council tax benefit and income support and said he was being truthful about Ms Brewer not living with him.

Stockings, of Mallow Walk, denied three offences of failing to notify St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances that could affect his entitlement to benefit between 2002 and 2012.

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The court has heard that Stockings was paid £45,200 income support, £28,800 housing benefit and £6,000 council tax benefit as a result of his alleged dishonesty.

The court has heard that Stockings stated he was living alone with his two children when he claimed benefits but investigators allegedly discovered his partner had given Mallow Walk as her address to her employers and had signed a joint tenancy agreement for the property with Stockings.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts today.