FORMER nurse Gillian Gardiner told officials she could only walk in the house by holding onto furniture.
Outside she either needed the help of her husband or she would have to grab her car or the fence for support to get up the drive.
The mother of five gave the impression of a severely disabled woman in constant pain and was awarded the highest level of disability living allowance.
But a court heard how she was filmed walking a child to school, taking the dog for a walk, shopping and carrying her shopping from the boot of her car into her home in Mold, completely unaided.
An official told how the film showed Gardiner, 43, walking up and down pavement kerbs and bending over.
She was filmed walking a dog in a field and was seen to pull the dog back, and she could clearly lift her shopping bags, Stephen Gowrie said.
“She gave us the picture that she was a severely disabled woman who could only walk 10 metres in three to five minutes which is exceptionally slow,” he explained.
Gardiner had told in her claim form how she needed help to sit in a chair and get back up, to dress and to get into bed and into the bath.
“We were told time and again that this occurred all the time. But the film showed a completely different picture,” he said.
“The person in the film is in no way entitled to disability living allowance and I disallowed it.”
He described the video evidence as “so compelling.”
Gardiner, of Ffordd Pentre, Mold, had been employed as an ambulance driver but that came to an end when she was said to have slipped on oil at work and hurt her back while cleaning the vehicle at end of the shift.
The film footage had been taken by private investigators engaged by a firm of solicitors involved in a civil case she brought against her then employers and was then handed over to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Once they saw the footage her benefit was stopped.
Gardiner denied a charge of failing to notify a change in her circumstances, claiming there had been no change her in condition but she had good days and bad days.
She said she had been advised to fill the form in on the basis of a bad day, but had clearly been filmed on one of her good days.
But she was convicted and yesterday at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold she was fined £250 with £115 costs.
District Judge Nick Saunders, who heard she had been overpaid £8,000, said other punishments were not appropriate due to ongoing back problems.
The court heard she had been allowed an industrial injuries benefit on the basis of a 20 per cent disablement but the way she filled in the form for disability living allowance meant she had been granted the highest rate available.
Gardiner said no two days were the same. Sometimes it did affect her seven days a week.
“I am in considerable pain and I always have been,” she explained.
She took medication and constant painkillers, was receiving treatment, and the more they burned of her nerve endings then the less the pain.
Gary Harvey, defending, whose earlier application for an adjournment for a medical report to be prepared was refused, said it was her case that her condition had not changed.
The DWP staff were not medically trained and had made their decision purely based on the film, which was taken on a “good or manageable day” but it was not known if the film had been edited or if other film would have shown her in a different condition. If the DWP wanted to remove her benefit then they should have obtained medical evidence, he said.
She was a woman of good character who it was accepted had a serious back condition and when she had bad days she could not get up, clothe, or do anything for herself. It was only on some days she could walk.
Gardiner had a good work ethic and was not a scrounger. She had trained as a mental health nurse, ran a playschool, had children and became an ambulance driver. She was training to be a paramedic when the work accident meant she lost her career.
She was still receiving treatment for the back injury, nerves were being fused in her spine and there were continuing problems.
Gardiner was going through an acrimonious divorce but was due to start life afresh in Toulouse with her new partner, an Airbus worker.
She had two children at home, the remainder being in university.