Woman claimed £250k benefit ‘because she can’t walk’ pictured on waterfall hike

A laywer who claimed an eye-watering £250,000 in disability benefits was pictured enjoying a glorious waterfall hike despite claiming she “can't walk”.

Claire Thomas, 39, had claimed that a car crash left her disabled.

The crash happened in 2016, and she had attempted to claimed around £250,000 in benefits after suffering “soft tissue injuries” to her neck, back and shoulders.

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She also claimed she was suffering from migraines and psychological issues, Wales Online reports.

The Merthyr Tydfil-native, who trained as a lawyer but also worked as a judge's clerk, was eventually pictured in Italy and Switzerland on hikes, and also attended a pop concert and wedding in the years after the crash.

Insurance company LV= had placed her under surveillance, and she was captured walking, jogging, and playing with her nephew.

And when the company, who teamed with experts Clyde & Co, searched her social media, several trips abroad were uncovered, including one set of photos showing her taking part in the Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons.

The insurance firm are now looking to reclaim all the costs after the original case was subject to a hearing at Cardiff County Court.

A judge dismissed Ms Thomas' claim after finding that she had "not presented a truthful account of her symptoms” – although the car crash was real.

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The huge costs including an alleged loss of earnings between the time of the accident and March 2022, when the most recent iteration of her claim was issued, of £124,444.86 and a future loss of earnings of £60,900, while the combined total of her estimated past and future care and assistance costs was calculated at £25,137.

When Judge Robert Harrison dismissed her claim, he said: “This is a decision I reach with a heavy heart.

“The fall for the claimant is significant.

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“Whilst it is not necessary for me to conclude whether she has a factitious disorder or whether she is a frank malingerer I strongly suspect it is the former.

“To that end, and whilst it is not a defence to the allegation made, the contents of this judgement and the consequences need to be dealt with by the claimant's representatives with the claimant with care, support, and sensitivity.”

No date has been set for a new court battle over the cost reclaim.


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