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Couple who own two houses are jailed for £40,000 disability scam when they said husband 'could barely walk' even though he ran London Marathon twice

  • Graham and April Totterdell both claimed handouts despite owning two homes
  • The pair, of Dover in Kent, refused to look at each other during Canterbury trial
  • Graham, 72, had been awarded the highest allowance as he 'could barely walk'
  • Mr Totterdell competed in runs across Kent and even completed two marathons
  • The runner was jailed for 12 months while his wife April was jailed for 18 months

A couple have been jailed for scamming £40,000 in disability benefits for saying the husband 'could barely walk' even though he ran the London Marathon twice.

Graham and April Totterdell claimed the handouts despite owning hefty savings and two homes.

The pair, from Dover in Kent, sat in the dock at Canterbury Crown Court and refused to look at each other as the judge branded them 'greedy'.

Graham, now 72, had been awarded the highest rate Disability Living Allowance after the couple claimed he could barely walk and 'was a frail old man'.

Graham and April Totterdell
Graham running in the London Marathon

Graham and April Totterdell (left) have been jailed for scamming £40,000 in benefits for saying the husband 'could barely walk' even though he ran the London Marathon twice (right)

Prosecutor Ian Foinette said Mr Totterdell competed in runs across Kent and even completed the London Marathon twice.

He had even used the name Graham King – his wife's maiden name – when participating in some of the marathons. 

Mrs Totterdell, 48, was told she was 'a liar of epic proportions' after trying to blame her husband for bullying her into taking part in the fraud.

But the judge said the mother-of-two had willingly connived with her marathon-running husband Graham to fake a disability and then pocket the cash. 

The jury heard how his wife had signed benefit application forms telling how he needed a walking frame and crutches because of two injuries.

She had also written in one appeal for more money that her husband was so reliant on her that she had to put toothpaste on his brush. 

The pair, from Dover in Kent, sat in the dock at Canterbury Crown Court and refused to look at each other as the judge branded them 'greedy'

The pair, from Dover in Kent, sat in the dock at Canterbury Crown Court and refused to look at each other as the judge branded them 'greedy'

Judge James O'Mahony said they had shown 'a breath-taking piece of hypocrisy' in their 'brazen deception'.

She jailed April for 18 months and Graham, who admitted the fraud at an earlier hearing, for 14 months.

He warned the crooked pair they now face proceedings under the Proceeds Of Crime Act to get the £38,000 back – plus a 'hefty' legal bill for the trials. 

Prosecutor Ian Foinette revealed that Mr Totterdell's claim of incapacity 'was simply not true', even though he had an accident in the past.

He said: 'Undoubtedly, he was injured but what he was claiming for was considerably more than that.

'While he was claiming benefit and for a large portion of the time he was actually competing in half marathons and the London Marathon.

The runner (shown right) was jailed for 12 months while his wife April was jailed for 18 months

The runner (shown right) was jailed for 12 months while his wife April was jailed for 18 months

'And at the same time he was suggesting to the DWP, with the assistance of Mrs Totterdell, that he was so incapacitated that he could barely move.'

The prosecutor said Mrs Totterdell knew 'full well' that his claims of that level of injury was 'simply not the case'.

Mr Foinette said that Mr Totterdell was secretly filmed walking across the road and crawling underneath cars while servicing his car.

The benefits were paid into Mrs Totterdell's bank account after she claimed he was '70 per cent disabled in the lower back' with injuries to both shoulders. 

In 2015 the couple were sent to prison after making false claims against a neighbour.

Totterdell was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice and harassment, while his wife was banged up for 16 months.

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Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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