Couple jailed for making fake holiday sickness insurance claims
A court heard that Deborah Briton, 53, and partner Paul Roberts, 43, tried to claim compensation by stating they and their two children had fallen ill on holidays to Majorca in 2015 and 2016.
But the couple’s social media showed posts where they boasted of holidays full of “sun, laughter and fun”.
Briton sobbed as she was sentenced to nine months in prison after admitting four counts of fraud in the private prosecution, brought by holiday company Thomas Cook.
Roberts, who was sentenced to 15 months after admitting the same offences, cried and shook in the court throughout the hearing on Friday.
Family members, including Briton’s daughter Charlene, who had initially been charged with two counts of fraud which were later dropped, shouted out in court as the couple were sent down.
The court heard the couple, from Wallasey, Wirral, tried to claim nearly £20,000 for the fake gastric illnesses and would have also cost the holiday firm a further £28,000 in legal expenses had their claims been successful.
Sentencing, Judge David Aubrey QC said their claims had been a “complete and utter sham”.
He said: “They were bogus from start to finish, you were both asserting on your behalfs and on behalf of your two children that on two separate holidays you had suffered illness.
“They were totally and utterly fake.”
He said the claims, made in August last year, must have required planning and premeditation: “Why? Pure greed. Seeking to get something for nothing.”
At Liverpool Crown Court Judge Aubrey said there had been an “explosion” in gastric illness claims made by holidaymakers from the UK.
He said: “Those who may be tempted in the future to make a dishonest claim in relation to fake holiday sickness, if they are investigated and brought to justice, whatever the circumstances of an individual, he or she must expect to receive an immediate custodial sentence.”
Sam Brown, prosecuting, said the couple had holidayed at the Globales America hotel in Majorca with their two children for two years in a row.
After the holiday in June 2015 Briton had written on social media: “Safely home after two weeks of sun, laughter, fun and tears. Met up with all our lovely holiday friends who made our holiday fab.”
A post after returning from the second holiday in July 2016 read: “Back home after a fantastic holiday, my favourite so far.”