A MOTHER-OF-EIGHT has been told she came a ‘hair’s breadth’ from being locked up after pleading guilty to more than £90,000 of benefit fraud.
Yvonne Rosher, of Queen’s Road in Gosport, admitted four counts of failing to tell the Department of Work & Pensions and Gosport Borough Council that she was living as husband and wife with Steven Rosher between October 2007 and September 2011.
At Portsmouth Crown Court, she was given a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, to run concurrently for each of the charges.
She was also given a 12-month supervision requirement and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
The money is being repaid through reductions from her benefits.
Judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘In nearly four years of living together as a couple, you failed to notify the relevant agencies and as such, you were overpaid some £90,000.
‘You are now paying back the money, but the money will almost certainly never be fully repaid or not for a long time.’
The court heard how the 41-year-old has six children living at home with her and her husband.
Sarah Jones, defending, said: ‘It’s neither an exaggeration nor seeking pity, but there was no suggestion they were spending frivolously.’
Rosher came to the area after fleeing from her violent first husband.
Ms Jones added: ‘There’s no question that this will live with her for the rest of her life. It’s proved a highly salutary lesson to her.’
Several statements were handed to the judge supporting Rosher, describing her as ‘trustworthy and reliable’.
She was previously of good character.
Ms Munro added: ‘The best people to look after your children are you and your partner. Prison in some ways would be an easy option for you, but it would have tragic and long-standing consequences for your children.’
She added: ‘You have escaped custody by a hair’s breadth.
‘If you don’t comply with these requirements, there will be no sympathy from the courts next time.’