The former lead singer of iconic rock band Iron Maiden is facing jail today after he was exposed as a benefit cheat by posting his music videos – on YouTube.
Heavy metal legend Paul Andrews, 52 – known and idolised by millions worldwide as frontman Paul Di’Anno – admitted swindling taxpayers out of more than £45,000.
Head-banging Andrews pocketed Government handouts by claiming he suffered nerve damage to his back that prevented him from working.
But the rock God, whose former group Iron Maiden had huge hits including Run to the Hills and The Number of the Beast, was still performing on stage and releasing records.
Andrews – fired by Maiden in 1981 under a cloud of drug-taking allegations he always denied – was caught when DWP investigators spotted a YouTube video of him jumping around on stage during a live show in 2006.
He was told to ”prepare” for some ‘jail house rock’ after admitting eight counts of benefit fraud at Salisbury Crown Court.
Honorary Recorder Judge Andrew Barnett: “You have got the sense and courage to plead guilty to these matters, but you have to understand that they are very serious.
“Although all sentence options will be open, you should prepare yourself for a prison sentence – and an immediate one at that.”
Andrews was the energetic frontman of Iron Maiden when they took the world by storm and shot to fame between 1978 and 1981.
But the court heard he claimed a range of incapacity benefit, housing benefit and council tax handouts, by stating he was to ill to work, between 2002 and 2008.
He claimed to be suffering from Sciatica, or nerve damage to the back
The heavily tattooed rocker, who stood passively in the dock wearing a black suit jacket and dark shirt, admitted illegally claiming sums totalling £45,479.
They included wrongly raking in income support of more than £10,000 between 2005 and 2008.
The bald, goatee-bearded star was caught out when an anonymous tip-off to investigators Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) claimed Andrews was still singing.
They then found videos and pictures of him performing.
The footage, from his own website and video sharing site YouTube, showed Andrews energetically leaping around on stage, singing to fans around the world.
The rock’n’roller, whose autobiography – titled The Beast – bills him as the “wildest man in rock”, even released fresh material while stashing benefits.
Andrews’ solo album ‘The Living Dead’ came out in 2006.
He was eventually arrested last year at Heathrow and charged with fraud.
Judge Bartlett adjourned yesterday’s hearing until March 11 for a pre-sentence report to be compile on the ageing rocker and granted him bail
The fallen star, who walked to the hearing with the aid of a stick, refused to comment as he left court.
The Department for Work and Pensions rapped Andrews for abusing his celebrity status, after he pleaded guilty.
A spokesman said: “Benefit fraud is a crime. This money is intended to provide valuable support to those most in need, not line the pockets of people already earning substantial amounts from their celebrity status.
“Our welfare reforms and new strategy to tackle benefit fraud will make the system less open to abuse.”
Andrews, of Salisbury, Wilts., will be sentenced on March 11th.