Derby

Derby couple lied over Turkey holiday food poisoning claim

Leon Roberts and Jade Muzoka Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The couple posted photographs of themselves on social media enjoying meals out while on holiday

A couple who claimed they had food poisoning on holiday posted pictures of themselves tucking into meals, a court heard.

Leon Roberts and Jade Muzoka, from Derby, shared the images from their Turkish break on Facebook, Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court was told.

They later pursued holiday firm TUI for about £2,000 each in compensation over a claim they had been ill.

They both pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud at an earlier hearing.

The pair were each handed a 26-week suspended sentence.

Railway industry contractor Roberts, 38, of Holbrook Road, Alvaston, and fitness trainer Muzoka, 27, of Stenson Road, Sinfin, who are no longer together, spent a week at Cornelia Golf Resort and Spa in Turkey in July 2015.

Image copyright Leon Roberts
Image caption Roberts and Muzoka spent a week at Cornelia Golf Resort and Spa, in Turkey, in July 2015

Despite the pair discontinuing their claims before they were given a pay out, TUI chose to prosecute them.

Tim Hunter, prosecuting on behalf of the company, said "the holiday went without incident" and it was "plainly apparent in their respective social media entries that they both enjoyed their time at the resort".

He said: "They issued through their solicitors claims to TUI that they had suffered serious illness as a result of food consumed."

District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said their claims were "akin to perverting the course of justice".

He added: "This is not a victimless crime, the costs of this type of false claim are massive."

The judge also said claims firms seeking "false" business should be deplored.

"They bear a large responsibility for suggesting, as in this case, that this was easy money and risk-free," he said.

The pair were also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid community work and pay £1,115 to cover court costs.

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