Whiplash insurance fraudster given suspended sentence

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A Staffordshire fraudster who claimed to have been injured in a crash involving a bus has been thwarted by CCTV footage which showed she was stood safely on the pavement, the Express and Star reported.

Helen Elcock saw her parked Ford Focus being struck by an Arriva bus in Cannock. The 48-year-old immediately got into the driver’s seat in a bid to deceive the bus driver and authorities that she had been sat in the car when it was hit.

Miss Elcock then tried to sue the firm for up to £3,000, claiming she had suffered neck and shoulder injuries from whiplash in the smash. She even deceived a doctor, convincing him she had genuine neck pain which would take four months to heal.

CCTV footage obtained by Arriva revealed she had been entirely uninjured and stood safely outside of her car when the bus struck. Her personal injury claim was subsequently struck out and she admitted her deceit.

Arriva then commenced contempt of court proceedings against her and at Birmingham County Court last week, a judge found three separate contempts were proven. These related to documents submitted by Elcock to the courts as part of her personal injury claim.

Judge Charles Purle QC sentenced her to a six month jail term, suspended for 12 months.

The court heard that Miss Elcock has already paid £6,750 for costs relating to the initial personal injury claim. Judge Purle QC awarded further costs of £9,412 following the latest proceedings.

Sentencing Elcock, he said: “This woman is guilty of a repeated and continued fraud. This was a deception she maintained over many months. She misled solicitors, medical experts and the courts.

“She was the sole perpetrator of the fraud and was no under pressure from anyone else and was not a mere footsoldier. The fraud was maintained until the position became untenable.”

The incident between the Number 3 bus, travelling from Cannock to Walsall, and Miss Elcock’s car, took place on March 14, 2016. It was not until September that Arriva discovered the fraud and the personal injury case was struck out in February, 2017.

Mr Corin Furness, acting for Arriva, said: “In the CCTV she is seen to get in her car immediately after the crash takes place. She is sitting with the door open when the bus driver gets out, so the bus driver understands she had been in her car.

“It was only on seeing the CCTV that the facts became clear. This was opportunistic rather than planned. She accepts she acted in a deplorable fashion and is ashamed of what she did.”