Milton Keynes fraudster who stole dead child’s identity ‘deserved tough jail term’

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A fraudster who stole more than £250,000 using other people’s identities - including that of a dead child - thoroughly deserved her tough jail term, top judges have said.

Dishonest Yvonne Doyle, 64, of Ladymeadow Court, Milton Keynes, used assumed names and faked a disability to make bogus benefit claims and obtain credit cards during 20 years of deception.

The scam artist was jailed for seven years at Reading Crown Court in December, last year, after she was found guilty of fraud and 17 further offences.

Today, three senior judges at London’s Appeal Court rejected a challenge by Doyle against her sentence, saying her punishment was “nowhere near” to being excessive.

Lady Justice Rafferty said Doyle obtained passports, driving licences, other documents in the names of entirely innocent people - both alive and dead - and dishonestly pretended she was wheelchair-bound in order to pocket more than £265,000.

She used the identity of a deceased four-year-old, as well as that of a woman who passed away in 1951, as part of her web of deceit.

She would lodge claims for council tax and housing benefit, income support and disability and carer’s allowance, swindling almost £174,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Doyle also conned more than £40,000 in council tax benefit from Milton Keynes Council, and a further £52,000 from banks and lenders.

After suspicions were raised, Doyle was interviewed by police but refused to comment. She was bailed and promptly went on the run.

Doyle was, however, arrested in Ireland in 2012 and found to have false identity documents on her, before she was extradited back to the UK.

Despite her denials, she was found guilty by a jury of six counts of making false statements to the public revenue with intent to defraud and five of possessing false identity documents with intent.

She was also convicted of four counts of obtaining services by deception, one of obtaining a money transfer by deception, one of obtaining property by deception and a single count of fraud.

On jailing her, Judge Angela Morris said Doyle had operated a “systematic long-term fraud”.

Doyle - who appeared via video link from prison - sobbed continually as her barrister argued today that the judge exceeded sentencing guidelines.

But Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mr Justice William Davis and Judge Deborah Taylor, firmly rebuffed the appeal.

“The judge was absolutely right to take the approach she did - to look at the facts, assess the damage and sentence accordingly,” she said.

“Seven years is nowhere near manifestly excessive and the appeal is rejected.”