Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Man claimed dead father's benefits

Appearing at Preston Crown Court, Christopher Blackburn pleaded guilty to preventing a lawful and decent burial of a dead body

A man has admitted that he failed to report the death of his father for up to five months and pocketed his benefit payments.

Christopher Blackburn, 29, pleaded guilty to preventing a lawful and decent burial of a dead body between October 31 2010 and March 23 last year.

Police found the body of Guy Blackburn, 54, on a bed in the living room of his home in Penwortham, Lancashire, on March 22 last year after neighbours raised concerns.

A post-mortem examination showed he had died from natural causes - probably several months earlier.

The defendant had been living at the house in Alderfield for the duration that his father was dead.

Appearing at Preston Crown Court, Blackburn, now living in Norman Road, Birkby, Huddersfield, also admitted to theft in claiming £1,308 in income support that had been paid into his father's bank account after his death.

The case was adjourned to March 12 for pre-sentence reports which will include a psychological evaluation.

Judge Anthony Russell QC said all sentencing options remained open but in his view these were "serious offences" and a custodial term was "quiet likely".

Blackburn was granted unconditional bail.

Following the pleas, Detective Inspector Marc Nasser said: "This is an unusual case and it is the first of its type that we have dealt with in Lancashire. It was a challenging crime and one that most members of the community will find appalling. I am pleased that Blackburn has pleaded guilty and will now be sentenced for the offences."

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