UKIP activist Christine Hewitt admits restaurant expense fraud

Christine Hewitt
Image caption Hewitt was given a suspended jail term and told to do unpaid work

A former UKIP MEP's chief of staff has been given a suspended jail term after asking a restaurant to amend a £900 bill to more than £3,000 for a fraudulent expense claim.

Christine Hewitt, who was assistant to Janice Atkinson MEP, pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court to fraud.

It followed an investigation by the Sun, which published a secret recording of Ms Hewitt in a Margate restaurant.

Hewitt, 55, of West Malling, was told to carry out 40 hours unpaid work.

Her four-month jail term was suspended for a year and she was ordered to pay £500 costs.

Following the incident, Kent Police carried out an investigation but did not accuse Ms Atkinson of any wrong-doing.

Both women, however, were expelled from UKIP for "bringing the party into disrepute".

Ms Atkinson went on to become an independent MEP.

After Hewitt was sentenced, Ms Atkinson said: "Kent Police conducted a thorough 10-month investigation into the matter and no charges were brought against any other people, only Mrs Hewitt.

"This has been an extremely difficult 18 months but I am now glad we can draw a line under the matter."

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