Belfast Telegraph

Disability fraud ex-Para who climbed Kilimanjaro jailed

By Johanna Carr

A former soldier who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and won a triathlon while fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds in disability benefits has been jailed.

Mark Lloyd also competed in the Phoenix Winter Games and the World Powerboat Championships in Malta while receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP) from October 2014 to February 2016.

The 33-year-old told benefits assessors that he had severe restrictions to his mobility and ability to care for himself after suffering a back injury and post-traumatic stress disorder while serving in the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan, but was found to have overstated his needs.

After a trial at Merthyr Magistrates Court he was found guilty of dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain for himself.

Yesterday District Judge Martin Brown said the claims were "completely and utterly fanciful".

Sentencing Lloyd, from Pontypridd, South Wales, to 20 weeks in prison, he said: "You have blatantly lied to this court throughout and I hope that you will reflect on that throughout your sentence."

The court heard that the first form filled out by Lloyd for his claim was inaccurate and a later form was even more so.

He was paid £6,551.80 in benefits over a period when he climbed Africa's highest peak over five days of walking between eight and 12 hours each day.

The court heard Lloyd had started to repay the money to the benefits agency.

"He is someone who is considered a low risk of reconviction, a low risk of harm," said James Harris, representing Lloyd.

"He does suffer from a back injury and PTSD following his service in Afghanistan."

The judge activated eight weeks of a previous suspended sentence, but ordered that to be served concurrently to the 20 weeks.

He also ordered Lloyd to pay £620 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Belfast Telegraph

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