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April Totterdell, from Dover, on trial for 'helping husband Graham claim disability benefits' while he ran marathons

A fraudster who claimed to be a "frail old man" received more than £38,000 in disability benefits - while TWICE taking part in the London Marathon.

Graham Totterdell was awarded Disability Living Allowance after claiming to have suffered injuries which left him needing a Zimmer frame and help from his wife to get about.

The couple claimed he needed sticks or crutches to walk, and assistance with bathing and the toilet.

April and Graham Totterdell
April and Graham Totterdell

But now, a jury has heard how the 72-year-old pocketed the benefits while taking part in the gruelling 26-mile race and other running activities.

Totterdell has admitted fraud but now his wife April, 48, of Colton Crescent, Dover, is on trial for a similar charge.

Prosecutor Ian Foinette told the jury at Canterbury Crown Court that for six years from September 2009 to May 2015, Graham Totterdell claimed benefits totalling £38,491.60.

Part of the application forms were completed and signed by Mrs Totterdell, the prosecution has alleged.

She is expected to claim she took part only "under duress".

The prosecutor added: “What she is saying is that her husband put her under such fear that she had no alternative but to go along with this criminal enterprise, fearing she would either be killed or seriously injured.

April and Graham Totterdell
April and Graham Totterdell

“The Crown say that is nonsense.”

Mr Foinette told the jury that Mr Totterdell was not entitled to some of the benefits that he received.

“The money went into her bank account and it must have been blindingly obvious what it was for," he said.

“She was well aware he was far more active than he was telling the Department and during the time he was receiving benefits he was taking part in various activities.”

The court heard how on October 29 2010 Mrs Totterdell wrote that her husband was 70% disabled because of lower back and shoulder problems.

“She was claiming he was suffering a severe level of disability, incapable of moving without assistance and the use of a zimmer frame, crutches and sticks," Mr Foinette said.

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

He told the jury: “You will be surprised to know that during this time he was running marathons and half-marathons, running under the name Graham King. King is Mrs Totterdell’s maiden name.

“He twice ran the London Marathon in his own name and he was running in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015.

“Yet during this time, she described her husband as a frail old man who won’t leave the house.

"The Crown say the two manipulated the system to ensure they got as much money as they could.”

Following the hearing, the jury was discharged from returning a verdict. A new trial has been scheduled for February 2018.

Totterdell will be sentenced after his wife's trial.

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