‘Depressed’ Ugandan woman (26) dishonestly claimed £38,000 benefits

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A WOMAN from Uganda, said to be depressed because of poor treatment in her home country, has admitted to dishonestly claiming benefits totalling £38,000.

Jacqueline Nankunda (26) came to England several years ago to seek a better life, according to her barrister Mr Martin Hackett.

Heavily pregnant Nankunda, now living in Kingsbury Place, Burnley, was warned all sentencing options remained open, by Judge J.H. Gibson when she appeared at Burnley Crown Court.

The six charges relate to dishonestly claiming disability living allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions and dishonestly claiming council tax benefit from Manchester City Council.

She also faced charges of failing to notify the DWP and Manchester City Council of a change in circumstances and making false representation.

The offences took place between 2006 and 2011.

Mr Hackett said: “My client has faced difficulties with depression due to her treatment in her home country and that is why she came to England.

“She has had a difficult time over the last seven or eight years. She is also expecting a child in December and is naturally frightened about the prospect of jail.”

But Judge Gibson told Nankunda that based on sentencing guidelines the maximum sentence he could impose would be 18 weeks imprisonment.

He added: “I cannot say at this stage until I have read the pre-sentence report whether I will suspend that sentence.”

Nankunda was released on bail and must return to Burnley Crown Court on November 23rd for sentence.