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Benefit cheat Hayley Turner, from Maidstone, caught out by Facebook family snaps

By Paul Hooper

A cheating mum-of-three who illegally pocketed £46,000 in benefits was caught out because of a family snap on Facebook.

Hayley Turner, 29, claimed she was a single mum bringing up her children alone when she claimed housing benefits, child tax credits and income support.

But undercover officers for the DSS discovered the children’s father living with her – and then spotted the holiday pictures on social media.

Hayley Turner escaped an immediate prison sentence
Hayley Turner escaped an immediate prison sentence

Turner has since married the father, James Grey and they live together in Grasslands, Langley.

But despite admitting the two-year fraud, she escaped an immediate jail sentence at Maidstone Crown Court.

Her barrister Trevor Wright said Mr Grey "at that time" had a cocaine problem and she ordered him to leave the family home.

He added: “This was a relationship in which she couldn’t live with him and couldn’t live without him.”

“He has now stopped his cocaine habit and is now clean.”

Judge Philip St John-Stevens gave Turner a six-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months
Judge Philip St John-Stevens gave Turner a six-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months

Richard Hearnden, prosecuting, said during the time she was claiming all the benefits she had her third child with Mr Grey.

Turner, who now works as a receptionist at a hospital’s A&E department, shook throughout the hearing - as her husband watched from the public gallery.

Mr Hearnden said: “She applied for three benefits and was paid on the basis she was a single woman living on her own.

"She made the applications in 2014 and it was paid into her account.

"The authorities decided if she was really living alone in 2017.”

Maidstone Crown Court (7931056)
Maidstone Crown Court (7931056)

However, Mr Grey had his own keys and on social media Turner had posted pictures indicating she was in a relationship with him.

Turner claimed they were "good friends" but weren’t living together – but now accepts they were.

She is now repaying the money, which will be "over a very long time".

Judge Philip St John-Stevens gave Turner a six-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months.

He told her: “The amount defrauded is a significant amount of money.

"But you found yourself as a devoted mother in a vulnerable situation in terms of the stability of your partner being there or not.

“You feared if you reported he had returned then your benefits might stop and he might walk out of the door again and you would not be able to feed and clothe your daughters.”

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Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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