Judge calls for apology for war widow accused of illegally claiming pension A judge has demanded an apology for a fiancÃ©e 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 Â£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 Â£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." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/3191271/Judge-calls-for-apology-for-war-widow-accused-of-illegally-claiming-pension.html 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!