Benefits cheat mum Tammy Horton caught kickboxing

A woman who claimed she was too ill to walk received £20,000 in disability benefits while taking part in major kickboxing tournaments.

Tammy Horton, 31, told assessors she needed to use a wheelchair and could not dress herself due to chronic pain.

But while claiming the payments, she competed in international matches in the UK in 2016 and 2017 and won medals.

Horton was handed a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, at Lincoln Crown Court.

The 31-year-old, of Folly Lane, Stickney, Lincolnshire, admitted charges of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in circumstance between 5 February 2014 and 25 March 2015, and making a false statement to obtain Personal Independent Payment (PIP) between 25 March 2015 and 10 May 2017.

The court heard she did suffer from illnesses, including chronic pelvic disease and fibromyalgia, but was not entitled to the £21,928 benefits she was paid and had told the DWP she struggled to walk more than 20m (66ft).

Acting on a tip-off, investigators discovered Horton had joined a kickboxing club in January 2004 and regularly attended sessions while claiming benefits.

She competed in two tournaments in 2016, and won a silver medal at another regional tournament in January 2017. The following month, Horton was runner-up in her category at an international event held in Watford.

Prosecutor Lisa Hardy told the court: “This was a lady who expressed that she needed an extra banister fitted just to be able to get up and down stairs.

“She said she was limited to walking with crutches or using a wheelchair and that she was on morphine to control the pain.”

‘Gross deception‘

Sentencing Horton, Judge Andrew Easteal said her actions were “inexcusable”.

“The contrast between the picture you painted and the reality of the life you were living is breathtaking,” he said.

“This was a planned, detailed, gross deception that went on for several years.”

Defending Horton, Edna Leonard said the woman had “a young daughter whose life would be ruined if she were jailed immediately”.

A spokesman for the DWP said it was “determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits”.