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Winner scooped £300k but kept claiming £18k benefits

A LOTTERY winner who scooped a £300,000 jackpot continued to claim benefit payments, a court heard.

Lesley Thomas kept quiet about the 2015 National Lottery win and continued to pocket almost £18,000 in housing benefit and employment and support allowance over three years, magistrates heard. Kim Treloar, defending, said of Thomas’s win: ‘She gave some money to her niece to assist her. She gave some money to her relatives.

‘She suffered with depression, anxiety, and many physical issues. She has fully accepted that she’s done wrong.’ The court in Merthyr Tydfil heard she needed carers daily.

She had shown ‘deep remorse’ and has paid the benefits back in full.

Thomas (pictured), 49, admitted failing to inform the council and the Department for Work and Pensions about her change of circumstances.

She was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, ordered to pay £200 costs and was handed a 12-week tagged curfew.