Lincolnshire bigamist given second suspended jail term after falsely claiming benefits

A convicted bigamist from Lincolnshire who breached her sentence by falsely claiming benefits while living with a new partner has been given a second suspended jail term.
Scales of JusticeScales of Justice
Scales of Justice

Faith Jenkinson, 45, who now lives in Willoughton, Lincolnshire, was given a four month suspended jail sentence in September 2015 after she went through with a lavish country house wedding in Branston despite failing to complete divorce proceedings from her first marriage 16 years earlier.

But Jenkinson was committed back to Lincoln Crown Court on Friday after it was discovered that she had been falsely claiming over £8,000 in housing benefit and income support while living with a new man, Steven Robinson, in Gainsborough.

Jenkinson, who appeared in court under her new surname of Robinson, admitted two charges of failing to disclose a change in her circumstances relating to income support and housing benefit.

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, told the court Robinson falsely claimed £3,223.56 in housing benefit and £5,672.69 income support between May 2014 and November 2015.

Miss Leonard said: “The investigation began with Mr Robinson being observed coming and going from the property, and there were then investigations in to her bank account.

“The breach of the suspended sentence is in relation to an offence of bigamy. That bigamist marriage took place on October 17, 2010.”

The court heard Robinson pleaded guilty to the benefit offences when she appeared before Lincoln Magistrates Court on 24 August.

Miss Leonard added: “Clearly the matter would have remained in the magistrates court if it wasn’t for the breach of the suspended sentence.”

David Eager, mitigating, told the court Robinson had already paid back much of the overpaid benefits.

Mr Eager said the breach of the suspended sentence also only applied to a few months between September and November 2015.

“They both related to partners, but it would be unjust to activate the suspended sentence,” Mr Eager argued.

Passing sentence Recorder Jacob Hallam QC told Robinson that, on balance, an immediate jail sentence could be avoided.

The Recorder sentenced Robinson to five months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, but warned her: “Don’t come back.”

Robinson, of Hollowgate Hill, Willoughton, was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Recorder Hallam explained: “For somebody who has taken what you did the starting point is a medium level community order, some unpaid work.

“You have to your credit paid back quite a lot of the money already.

“But you know for a small period of this offence you were subject to a suspended sentence of imprisonment for a different kind of offence, although there was some overlap relating to your domestic situation.

“Bearing in mind the period of time and your otherwise good character, balancing the competing factors I can pass a sentence that does mean you will go to prison today.”

The bigamy was exposed by Andrew Asher, her intended husband from the Grantham area, three years after he married Jenkinson at Branston Hall Hotel in the autumn of 2010.

Jenkinson, a former police civilian worker and health and safety consultant, was questioned by officers and admitted that divorce proceedings to her first husband, Michael Ulatowski, 52, had never been formally completed.

Judge John Pini, QC, had allowed Jenkinson to walk free from court in September 2015 after accepting she was confused about her marital status rather than acting for financial gain or immigration purposes.

She was sentenced to a suspended four-month prison term and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.