9:54am Friday 21st December 2012
A benefit cheat, jailed for making £14,000 worth of bogus claims when she lived in South Oxhey, has failed to convince top judges she should be freed for Christmas - because she is "one of life's punch bags".
Denise Susan Blackwood, 48, now of Torworth Road, Borehamwood, was jailed for three months at St Albans Crown Court in November.
She admitted four counts of making false representations to claim benefit and two of failing to notify social services of a change of circumstances.
Blackwood, who lived in South Oxhey, at the time of the offences, falsely claimed disability living allowance and housing and Council Tax benefits.
Ssenior judges at London's Court of Appeal refused an appeal against her sentence - saying her jail term was in fact "quite compassionate".
Lord Justice Pitchford said Blackwood, whose husband is house-bound by disabilities, made phoney claims between 2005 and 2009. She lied on benefit claim forms, saying she could not work, while earning cash.
Blackwood had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and her lawyer told the court: "She has been one of life's punch bags."
He argued the sentence should be cut to reflect her personal circumstances.
But Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting with Mr Justice Hamblen and Judge Brian Barker QC, refused to free Blackwood, saying a deterrent sentence was necessary.
He concluded: "We of course recognise that it has been a difficult life for this appellant.
"But we have to ask ourselves whether what was given by the judge in sentencing was manifestly excessive. We do not think it can be said that it is.
"It was quite a compassionate sentence, in the circumstances."
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group