A mother who ‘dishonestly’ claimed to have fractured her ankle after falling into a drain has been ordered to pay £13,000 to a council. Mary Brennan was ordered to shell out the money after her compensation claim against Rochdale council was dismissed by the court.
Ms Brennan, of Birnam Grove, Heywood, claimed she was injured after falling into an uncovered drain while walking to her local newsagent at around 7.30am on May 7, 2016. But in court the holes in her story turned out to be almost as big as the one she claimed to have fallen into.
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One account of the incident referred to her falling down the narrow hole to her waist, but another said it was so deep only her head was visible. The board fought the claim by showing that four days before the alleged incident the hole had been secured.
There were also inconsistencies between the original application, medical reports, proceedings, witness statements and the transcript of the ambulance call, which were brought to light during the hearing. The judge found Ms Brennan’s explanation for a 90-minute delay between the time of the accident and the call for an ambulance unconvincing and the court was also skeptical of a witness who said he found Ms Brennan in the hole and his explanation of how he came to be involved in the case.
Ms. Brennan’s daughter also acknowledged that the care and assistance for which a claim was made was care she was already providing. At the November 2020 trial, the judge accepted counsel’s defense and admitted that everything had been done that could have been done, so the claim failed.
The judge found the allegation to be “fundamentally dishonest”. Ms Brennan was recently ordered to pay the council’s legal costs totaling £12,786.48.
Julie Murphy, Finance Director of Rochdale Council, said: “It is completely unacceptable to submit a false claim and then expect the council taxpayers to pay. Any insurance claims made against us are taken very seriously. seriously and are being thoroughly investigated.
“If we find any discrepancies, as we did in this case, these can be used as evidence in court. This is public money and those who submit dishonest claims may end up paying all of our This case shows how costly it can be to try to defraud council and borough council taxpayers.”