Benefit cheat who fled to Spain with lover finally jailed: Dawn Orton read of warrant on This Is Hull and East Riding
A MOTHER who ran off to Spain with her new lover while falsely claiming thousands in benefits is today starting a jail sentence.
Dawn Orton, 47, flew home and handed herself into police after reading the Mail's website and discovering a warrant was out for her arrest.
Orton, of Cottingham, was convicted of benefit fraud at Hull Crown Court in her absence after writing to the court to say she was on holiday and was jailed for 12 months.
Now, she has been given an extra month on top of her sentence for breaching her bail.
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Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said: "I brand you an extremely foolish woman. You have brought this on yourself.
"You decided to bury your head in the sand. You were in Spain with your new lover and you elected to prioritise your relationship with him ahead of your responsibility in coming to this court."
Orton defrauded taxpayers out of £29,000 by failing to declare she was living with a man for more than 13 years.
Hull Crown Court heard she is also believed to have claimed tens of thousands of pounds in incapacity benefits, despite playing badminton for a club in Cottingham and going skiing.
The court heard she used the money to fund up to four luxury holidays a year and drove a high-performance car.
When her husband died in 1996, she was given the chance to claim widowed mothers' allowance instead of incapacity benefit as it was a larger sum.
But, within a year, she had moved in with her new partner Mark Lissimore in Cottingham and failed to declare she was no longer single.
After 13 years of living with Mr Lissimore, she eloped to the US with a new partner and her offending came to light.
Orton then moved to Spain and refused to return for her trial.
Mr Lissimore, a former Cottingham shopkeeper, went to court to see his former partner jailed.
He said: "We were together for 13 years and I never knew about this. She told me she was off on a short holiday and never came back.
"All these brown envelopes started arriving and finally I opened them and discovered this. She has told complete lies.
"I finally feel vindicated now."
A jury at Hull Crown Court unanimously convicted her of two counts of benefit fraud after just 30 minutes of deliberations. Orton was convicted of defrauding the taxpayer out of £29,000, which was the difference between the incapacity benefit she was originally claiming and the widowed mothers' allowances she had illegally obtained.
The Department of Work and Pensions is now investigating her incapacity claims.
The court heard she has claimed more than £100,000 for incapacity benefit for her shoulder injury despite playing sports and skiing.