Samuel was “barely mobile”, “increasingly frail”, and “walked with a stoop”.
– Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al
This is plainly not true. As the Honourable Judge Reddihough remarked in sentencing:
“There is clear evidence before the court that by the time of this offence Sami had made a reasonably good recovery from the illness he had suffered”.
Dad had been seen driving, gardening, laying bricks, and putting up fence posts over that summer. One typical witness described how:
“In early September, Mark and Sami came to the depot. I saw Sami and told him I thought he looked much better. He thanked me and said that he felt ‘much better’, ‘in fact’ he said, ‘a lot, lot better’”
– KS, Tool Hire Manager
Indeed, police analysis of dad’s internet activity revealed a long history of browsing adult material, visiting dating sites, and using chat rooms. He had also been exchanging suggestive text messages with women he’d met online. This is the behaviour of someone in their second wind, not a ‘frail’ old man.
My father had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in March 2007, and underwent surgery on 30 May 2008 to address his condition. He was bedbound for several months after this, and so I put off plans to move to London that year in order to look after him and nurse him back to health. It was only once we were both confident that he could look after himself that we contemplated my moving out the following year. He had a brief blip between 15 – 18 August 2009, when his stoma blocked – but this was quickly resolved by the doctors. I wouldn’t have left him on his own if I thought he still needed my help.
Of course, this didn’t stop him trying to claim benefits. As a Serious Case Review explained:
“It appears that [he] misrepresented his health status to Adult Social Care… It is possible [that he] may have fraudulently secured Direct Payments having given incomplete information about his income”.