August 2 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
A man sent a letter pretending to be the Mayor of Huntingdon to get a council to stop the benefits of the mayor’s girlfriend.
Clifford Dragon, 63, of Stocking Drove, Chatteris, was today convicted of sending a letter conveying false information to Fenland District Council in September last year.
The letter, which was signed Bill Hensley, Mayor of Huntingdon, said that Councillor Hensley’s girlfriend Sarah Tabbitt, who lives in Chatteris, no longer required housing benefits.
FDC, which received the letter on September 13, cancelled the payments and sent a letter to Ms Tabbitt informing her of the decision a few days later.
Cllr Hensley told Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court he then investigated why it had been stopped and then who sent the letter. He informed the police when he discovered the letter was said to have originated from him.
Pc Nicola Perry requested the letter from FDC and sent it off for forensic analysis, which matched a fingerprint on the back of the letter to Dragon.
When asked how his finger print came to be on the back of the letter, Dragon said he couldn’t explain it.
The court heard that the Cllr Hensley and Dragon had been friends for approximately 40 years but had fallen out over the last two to three years, about a year after Dragon had driven Cllr Hensley’s wife to Switzerland to see Dragon’s ex-wife.
Huntingdon magistrates found Dragon guilty of the offence. Graham Collins, chairman of the bench, said there was no credible explanation to why Dragon’s fingerprint was on the letter.
Dragon was given a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay Ms Tabbitt £100 compensation as well as £775 costs and £120 victim surcharge.
Cllr Hensley said after the hearing: “I think it’s a happy end as I wouldn’t like to see a former best friend sent to prison. This is the end of six months of upset it has caused.”