RAF veteran in £33K benefit fraud to keep pension from second wife

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By Bodger21 | Sunday, January 06, 2013, 06:53

by The Citizen

RAF veteran Philip Savage became a benefits cheat because he did not want his second wife to find out about his military pension, a court heard.

Over eight years the wheelchair-bound former airman claimed council tax and housing benefits of £33,517 he was not entitled to.

The benefits were paid to Savage, 77, by Stroud District Council and later Gloucester City Council, because he failed to disclose his £645 a month RAF pension, prosecutor Anna Midgley told Gloucester Crown Court.

Savage's solicitor, Claire Malvern, said he had withheld details of his pension because he did not want his second wife to claim part of it if their marriage ever failed in future.

His first wife "took everything from him" when their marriage broke up, she said, and he had suffered a breakdown. 

He did not want the same to happen again.

Ms Malvern added: "The deceit was not just against the local authority but against his wife."

Savage was living in Phillmore Road, Cam, Dursley, for most of the time he was offending, but now lives in Buchan Drive, Kingsway. 

He admitted four offences of obtaining benefits by deception between Nov 2003 and May 2012.

Judge Michael Harington told him that if it were not for his age and poor health he would go straight to prison.

Instead, he sentenced Savage to a six month curfew requiring him to be home every night between 8pm to 7am.

Savage was found out when an investigation was launched by the councils when data match information suggested that he was receiving a military pension.

He is now repaying Stroud council at £100 a month and Gloucester at £6 a week.

Judge Harington told Savage he would have passed a nine-month jail term if he had been a younger and healthier defendant.

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