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Nurse in £58k fraud avoids jail sentence

A support nurse employed by the Western Health and Social Care Trust who pleaded guilty to a £58,000 benefits fraud has been sentenced to 240 hours of community service at the Crown Court in Derry.

Sharon Nelson (52), from Primity Crescent in Newbuildings, carried out the frauds over an eight-year period starting in 2003.

She admitted six charges of fraudulently obtaining housing benefit, a carer's allowance and income support when working as a support nurse.

Judge Piers Grant told Nelson that it was only with some considerable hesitation that he was not sending her to jail for effectively stealing taxpayers’ money.

Nelson, who has previous theft and deception convictions, is repaying the £57,925.40 at a rate of £100 per month.

She was due to have been sentenced last Thursday, but sentencing was adjourned until yesterday and Nelson spent the previous five days in custody.

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