Manchester

Benefit cheat magistrate Sandra Howell removed from bench

Sandra Howell Image copyright Lynda Roughley
Image caption Sandra Howell arrived at court in October in a wheelchair

A magistrate who was jailed after fraudulently claiming almost £27,000 in benefits has been removed from office.

Sandra Howell was jailed in October over disability living allowance claims made between 2011 and 2016.

Before her trial, she arrived at court in a wheelchair but footage played to jurors showed her "walking around".

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) said she had been "removed" from the Greater Manchester magistrates' bench.

Image copyright DWP
Image caption CCTV footage showed Howell walking and getting into her car

Her trial at Liverpool Crown Court heard Howell had stated in benefits claim forms that she could barely walk and needed round-the-clock care following a road traffic accident in 2007.

However, CCTV surveillance footage showed her walking at the Trafford Centre faster than other shoppers and working on her driveway.

The jury also heard evidence from a guest at her wedding who saw her dancing.

Speaking after her conviction, the Crown Prosecution Service said she had "grossly misrepresented her disability", adding she had been breaking the law while "dispensing" it.

The JCIO spokesman said she had been subject to a separate complaint and had been removed from office by Lord Chancellor David Gauke and Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett.

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