A WOMAN has escaped jail after stealing a dead baby’s identity and using it to buy a house, claim benefits and even get a birth certificate.
Georgina Sharon Murphy, 53, of Pen-y-Waun, Chirk, was said to be suffering from a complex web of mental health difficulties brought about by years of abuse as a child.
She was given a suspended nine-month prison sentence and placed on supervision for a year.
Murphy admitted nine offences of false accounting and fraud after stealing the identity of Gail Jones, possibly from her gravestone.
Doreen Jones, of Buckley, the mother of Gail and now in her 80s, says the case made her suffer the loss of her baby all over again.
When police officers first visited her and asked her and her husband about their baby, she revealed that she thought that there may have been a mix-up and that her baby had been given to someone else.
“I thought that she may be alive and grown up and I was finally going to held her and tell her how much I loved her. But instead, I was told that someone had obtained a copy of her birth certificate and had used her name to create a false identity,” she said.
Mrs Jones, from Buckley, and her husband, had a baby they named Gail, in May, 1957. Tragically the baby died 12 hours later.
Judge Philip Hughes said that the distress the defendant had caused to the family was plain to see.
The case was serious in that the defendant’s applications for benefits were false from the start, and they went on for about three years from 2006 to 2009.
However, the judge said that he had to recognise that the amount of money the defendant received, about £7,450, was modest, she had pleaded guilty and was a woman of good character. She was a low risk of re-offending and a lengthy and comprehensive psychiatric report showed that she had a complex range of mental health problems.
Prosecutor Alex Offer told how it was a very sophisticated fraud where the defendant had created and used extensively the false identification of the baby. She had obtained a national insurance number in the baby’s name, together with a birth certificate, utility bills and wage slips.
The defendant owned two properties in Lakeholme Gardens, Oswestry, and Y Waun in Chirk. The house in Oswestry had been bought in the name of Gail Jones, and a mortgage taken out in the false name.
However, they were in negative equity and the prosecution would not seek a proceeds of crime order.
False accounting charges centred of applications to Denbighshire and Oswestry councils for council tax and housing benefit in the name of Gail Jones when she falsely claimed that she lived in Wellington Road, Rhyl, Vale Street in Denbigh and Bridge Street in Llangollen.
One application to the Oswestry council was made in her married name of Lara where she claimed to be the tenant, when in fact she owned the house.
Interviewed, Murphy insisted that she and Gail Jones had been in foster care together and had grown up together. She said Gail Jones allowed her to stay at her home and gave her a credit card to use in an emergency.
Defending barrister Fergal Allen said that it was a distasteful offence but the consequences for the deceased baby’s family had been un-intended and un-foreseen.