A STROKE survivor said he is disgusted to the "pit of his stomach" his wife continued to claim carer benefits for more than a year after he moved out of the marital home.
John Owen, director of the North West Museum of Road Transport in St Helens, suffered a stroke almost three years to the day his soon to be ex-wife Carol, of Birdwell Drive, Great Sankey, Warrington appeared in court charged with fraud.
Halton magistrates heard that Carol Owen did not tell the council her husband had moved out and continued to sign her and her mother’s signature to claim more than £7,000 towards caring for Mr Owen between April 2012 and November 2013.
Speaking outside of court, Mr Owen said he was "shocked at his wife’s stupidity’" after more than 20 years of marriage.
The 62-year-old added: “I was outraged when I found out she had continued to claim as Warrington Disability Partnership have been very kind to me and as a director of a charity myself I know how I would feel if somebody defrauded my charity.
“Initially she cared for me but then she increasingly tried to take advantage of the system.
“She wanted to get as much money in her account from as many benefits she could and went to the carers centre for advice.
“I thought her plan was odious and told her I didn’t want to be under the same roof as her.
“I’m disgusted to the pit of my stomach.”
Alison Warburton, prosecuting, said Carol Owen continued to submit time sheets after Mr Owen, who has suffered 20 per cent disability on his left side, had moved out.
During police interview the 54-year-old said she had found it difficult to cope when Mr Owen left and was too embarrassed to tell anybody.
She claimed cash had been spent on bills and the mortgage but she still had £2,000 which she could pay back.
Peter Green, defending, said: “Clearly this was not sophisticated offending and her behaviour would have come to light sooner rather than later.”
Magistrates ordered her to complete 150 hours unpaid work within the next 12 months and pay back £2,500 with £2,000 due to be paid within 28 days.
Mr Owen, who claims Carol Owen spends most of her time in Malta, added: “She has made a fool of the courts.
“She omitted to mention that the marital home is up for sale and that she can expect a proportion of any sale profit.
“Noticeably she wasn’t going to offer to pay any of that back.”