Wife Swap benefits cheat faces jail for illegally claiming £10,000

June 17, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A benefits cheat mum who claimed £10,000 as a single parent living alone was caught and is facing jail — after she appeared on wife swap.

Scrounger Kelly Jones, 23, failed to tell the authorities that she and bus driver husband Steven Jones were living together for 18 months in Bristol.

She illegally claimed £4,976 in housing benefits, £3,614 in income support and £1,171 discount on her council tax bill.

But Jones was caught out when she and Steven, who she married in April this year, appeared on Channel 4’s Wife Swap.

Self-confessed ‘slob’ Jones was branded ‘Britain’s worst mum’ after she appeared on the show last June under her maiden name Moyston.

She was condemned after viewers saw Jones feed her 18 month old daughter fast food and spending ten hours a day online in her filthy house in Fishponds, Bristol.

Jones appeared at Bristol Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday to admit a string of charges for illegally claiming benefits.

Lynne Harvey, prosecuting, said: ”Mrs Jones said she had not declared him at the address because his wages were too low to pay their rent and live.

”She panicked at the thought of losing their home. She said she knew once the TV programme was aired she would be caught.”

The couple met in 2006 and moved in together in Yate, near Bristol, in February 2008, before the house was repossessed in May that year.

They then rented a house in Fishponds, Bristol, in July that year but failed to notify Bristol City Council they were living together.

Jones then approached Channel 4 over appearing on Wife Swap and a camera crew filmed them in October, for which she was paid £1,000.

She swapped places with hairdresser Kerry Murphy for two weeks and moved into a five-bedroom house in Rotherham, Yorks., with building contractor Tim.

Jones was widely condemned following the programme after admitting she fed her then 18 month old daughter Georgina crisps for breakfast.

She also admitted gorging on fast food, which she also fed to her daughter, and regularly lying in bed until lunchtime.

Georgina, now three, was also filmed crawling just inches away from cat faeces rotting in the corner of the room and left in her cot until midday in a wet nappy.

Over 50 viewers contacted broadcasting watchdog Ofcom claiming Channel 4 should have intervened, although the complaints were not upheld.

After the programme, she admitted in an interview with a glossy magazine that she fed Georgina Quavers for breakfast, sausage rolls for lunch and regularly slept until lunchtime.

Council officers interviewed the couple, who also have an 11 month old child, in August 2009, after receiving an anonymous tip off that they were falsely claiming benefits.

And at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, Jones admitted failing to notify the council that she and Steven were living together.

She also admitted falsely declaring that she lived alone, failing to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that her partner was living with her, and failing to declare her husband had received £30,625 when his house in Yate was repossessed.

Her husband Steven, 40, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting.

Ruth Tiley, defending Jones, described her client as a ”quite naive and gullible young woman.”

She told the court that Jones had suffered with post-natal depression.

They were both released on bail but were told they faced a possible prison sentence.

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