A SICK 60-year-old man broke down and wept when he was jailed for a £20,000 fraud on taxpayers.
Dennis Braisdell of Broom Grove, Rhosnesi, obtained more housing benefit and council tax benefit than he should have received for 10 years - failing to declare an industrial injury pension.
Braisdell, who suffers ill-health and who cares for his disabled wife, admitted five charges of obtaining the benefit from Wrexham County Borough Council by deception and asked for a further six offences to be taken into consideration.
He was jailed for eight months and sat and cried in the dock while family members protested in the public gallery at Mold Crown Court. Judge Gareth Edwards QC told him he was receiving about half the sentence he deserved for 'thieving from the public purse'.
The judge said: 'You must realise, and the general public must realise, to swindle the tax payer out of benefits has to be punished severely, because it happens far too often. You are not a professional swindler of benefits but you obtained very nearly £20,000, perfectly knowingly, over a 10-year period.
'I find no way of dealing with you other than by an immediate prison sentence.'
Judge Edwards said a prison sentence was in the public interest and would discharge his public duty. However, he took into account Braisdell's age and previous good character, his guilty pleas, his ill-health, his wife's disability and his attempt to repay the money he had received.
Prosecuting barrister Sion ap Mihangel told the court Braisdell was a married man with no dependent children who had received council benefits without declaring his industrial disability pension.
Interviewed, he accepted it was wrong but claimed it had not been deliberate and that he did not think the industrial accident pension was applicable.
He had already repaid £2,000 and had set up a standing order to repay the remainder at £15 a week.
Defending barrister John Philpotts had suggested a suspended prison sentence in the exceptional circumstances of the case.