War widow accused of illegally claiming pension cleared

Discussion in 'Armed Forces Pension Scheme' started by Blogg, Oct 14, 2008.

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  1. Judge calls for apology for war widow accused of illegally claiming pension

    A judge has demanded an apology for a fiancée of a soldier killed in Afghanistan who was accused of illegally claiming a war widow's pension

    "Janine Fearick was alleged to have falsely obtained £63,000 in a lump-sum pay-out after Private Andrew Cutts' death by lying about the strength of their relationship.

    She walked free from court in tears of relief after the case collapsed and a judge described the decision to pursue it as a "tragedy".

    Miss Fearick, 21, a legal secretary, appeared in the dock alongside her mother Jeannie Fearick, 44, who was accused of helping her carry out the alleged fraud.

    Judge Michael Stokes QC told them: "You can leave without a stain on your characters. It is a tragedy that this prosecution was ever started.

    "It should never have commenced in the first place, from the evidence I have ever seen, and it seems to me you are owed an apology by someone."

    Pte Cutts, 19, became the 10th British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan when he was shot in Helmand province in August 2006.

    His home village, the close-knit former pit community of Blidworth, Notts, later came to a standstill for his funeral, with Miss Fearick leading mourners alongside the soldier's family.

    Describing herself as Pte Cutts' fiancee, Miss Fearick said at the time: "I'm proud of him. He was my sunshine. I used to write to him every day."

    But prosecutors later alleged she did not meet any of the criteria a serviceman's partner needs to satisfy to qualify for a pay-out after his death.

    Rules state the claimant must have been married to or living with the victim in order to be eligible for compensation and pensions from the MoD.

    Failing that, the couple need to have been engaged and there must be proof that they intended to marry, such as having booked a church.

    It is believed that when police probing the alleged fraud asked Miss Fearick to produce her engagement ring she said it was in Pte Cutts' coffin.

    Miss Fearick, from Mansfield, Notts, who works as a legal secretary, had pleaded not guilty a charge of obtaining property by deception between August 2006 and January 2007, as had her mother.

    The prosecution would have had to prove that she and Pte Cutts were not "co-habiting in a substantial and exclusive relationship".

    But Michael Auty, prosecuting, conceded it could not and said no evidence would be offered.

    He also revealed Miss Fearick had transferred the £63,000 to Pte Cutts' identical twin, James, even before she was charged with any offence, on the pre-arranged understanding that her boyfriend's brother would be the chief beneficiary of his will, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

    Recording not-guilty verdicts, Judge Stokes said: "If these allegations had been provable then Miss Fearick would have faced going to prison. That is how serious these allegations are.

    "It seems to me these allegations should never have been made in the first place. It seems there was never any evidence to support them at all."

    Caroline Bradley, defending, said the case "has caused huge problems in the village where they live".

    Private Cutts, a member of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, the Royal Logistic Corps, was shot during an operation to offer protection when paratroopers laid siege to Musa Qaleh, a village known to shield Taliban commanders."


    How in the name of God do such cases even get to court? Who thought it was a good idea to persue this without any evidence whatsoever??

    Grrrrr! :x
  2. At least justice has been done but to put that poor girl through that sort of ordeal is abominable.
  3. How in the name of Dog do names get changed when cut & pasting? :?


    I cut & pasted from the same source but on preview it changes J e a n n i e to Blondbint! (I had to add a space between each letter to prevent it happening again).
  4. Agreed. Many police forces are in such a position that they can produce evidence or collude in note taking and completion. I hope that Ms Fearick gets hold of the police force and makes a formal complaint via the IPCC.
  5. Sod the IPCC, they're as bent as half the coppers seem to be these days. Peter Carter Ruck would have been a better choice (except the sod has gone and died)
  6. Got a feeling that the ladies won't be making a complaint.

    Apparently the original complaint was raised by the guy's family. I know that money can make the best of families fall out but it does seem a bit odd that if there was an agreement for the twin to get the cash, it took the prospect of her being charged to make it happen.
    As regards the engagement ring-yes could happen but I reckon she would have told the family, not wait for it to come out under questioning after all, no ones going to order an exhumation in order to find out.

    Still, whatever the ins and outs of the case, the saddest thing is that it detracts from the memory of someone who died and who doesn't deserve to have his death associated with all the in-fighting that followed.
  7. He also revealed Miss Fearick had transferred the £63,000 to Pte Cutts' identical twin, James, even before she was charged with any offence, on the pre-arranged understanding that her boyfriend's brother would be the chief beneficiary of his will, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

    Think not......
  8. This is a really sad that the memory of this young lad who didnt deserve to have his death associated with all the fighting that followed .

    In the UK the exchange of engagement rings is traditionally seen as the agreement of betrothal but again it is not a legally binding contract. Some ladys choose to live with there partners and other ladys choose to wait to live with there partners after they are married .The reading of the marriage banns is a formal act and in some cases a marriage will only be legally valid if a reading of the banns has taken place or the intended couple have obtained a marriage licence.This is one of the biggest problem in society today people dont understand the law and there is where complications arise .

  9. Fair enough, then we will have to agree to differ on this,

    Firstly, my understanding is that the £63,000 was an award to his betrothed and as such wouldn't be part of his estate and therefore the brother wouldn't be the beneficiary of his will (or of an understanding)

    But let's suppose it was so, taking a look at the timeline;

    1 Soldier makes will/understanding with the girlfriend regarding twin.
    2 Soldier is killed
    3 Girl makes claim for pension
    4 Girl is awarded amount
    5 Family raises complaint
    6 Investigation is started
    7 Girl/mother are questioned
    8 Girl/mother are arrested
    9 Girl/mother are charged

    I realise that 'even before charged' can refer to any prior point (after 4)
    but lawyers are only that vague when they intend to be, why not 'before family raises complaint' or any other point in between.

    After all, If the girl was following the agreement, she would have passed on the money soon after receiving it.

    No, my reading of the reports is that the girl only passed on the money when she found she was in trouble

    They (mother and daughter) are indeed now innocent in the eyes of the law but that doesn't, in my view, make anyone who responsible for bringing this case to court; Family, Police,CPS worthy of being slagged off-even by a judge!
  10. Another shameful decision from the CPS, bunch of cnuts!!!
  11. It's probably the filter on the forum. Just like when you try to say 'bastard' the filter posts it as 'bastard', seems that someone in charge wasn't overly keen on people called Jeannie, aka Blondbint.
  12. Errrr...I think the judge was a little annoyed that a chunk of court time was spent on a case that the CPS had put to the courts that the CPS could not offer any evidence to substantiate. If you or I did that, we'd run the risk of being charged with wasting the courts time

    "But Michael Auty, prosecuting, conceded it could not and said no evidence would be offered."
  13. Fair point,

    Clearly they thought they had a good case to start with. Wonder what caused them to change their minds?
  14. This is one possible conclusion although the judge clearly didn't agree.

    Another possible conclusion might be that she had just lost the love of her life, she realised that no amount of money would compensate for her loss and decided that it would be better to give the brother the money rather than have an unseemly slagging match over his money. The fact that she hadn't spent any of the money might shed some favourable light on her intentions.