Latest fall from grace for Whitby woman

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A swindling Whitby woman has admitted benefit fraud not long after being spared jail for stealing over £17,000 from her father-in-law’s bank account.

Victoria Eve Swales (39) appeared at York Crown Court via video link from Low Newton Women’s Prison on Friday, when she admitted four counts of fraud in relation to benefit claims made to Scarborough Borough Council.

University-educated Swales pleaded guilty to two counts of making a fraudulent application for housing after splitting from her husband in late 2014.

The court heard she had applied for new accommodation by claiming she had children.

Swales admitted a third count of using a false bank statement in an attempt to 
receive child benefit, and a further charge of making a false statement to obtain housing and council-tax benefit.

In March, Swales was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence after she admitted stealing about £18,000 from her late father-in-law’s 
account.

Swales, of East Way, had transferred huge sums from her husband’s account into a fund belonging to his father, who had Alzheimer’s. She then blew the lot in the space of five months, on what she claimed were household goods and 
everyday essentials.

This was despite having no financial worries thanks to her husband’s work with 
the family scaffolding business in Whitby.

A month later, she was tried by Scarborough magistrates on a harassment charge after she was accused of stalking a teacher. They found her guilty on April 8 and jailed her for 12 weeks.

Defence barrister Tom Stanway said at the time of the benefit fraud, Swales was suffering from depression after breaking up with her husband and suffering a miscarriage.

He said that before her three convictions in quick succession, Swales had led a blameless life.

Judge Neil Davey QC 
adjourned sentence for medical and probation reports. Swales will learn of her fate on June 1. She was remanded in custody until then.