A mother-of-16 has avoided a jail term after she tried to process a bogus personal injury claim because she needed money to cover the costs of her and her husband's funerals.
Winnifred Lawrence (69), of Moorefield Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin, was sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on signed pleas of guilty from the District Court.
She admitted to inducing staff at the Blackrock Clinic into believing she was Ellen Stokes, with the intention of making a gain for herself at the clinic on Rock Road, Blackrock, on December 7, 2017. She has no previous convictions.
Garda Damien Reilly told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that Winnifred tried to make a claim against RSA insurance in which she pretended to be Ms Stokes, and said she had been involved in an accident on August 5, 2013.
She later came to the Circuit Civil Court in February 2018, again purporting to be Ms Stokes but the claim was ultimately struck out.
Gda Reilly said that a garda, who knew Lawrence, attended the Circuit Civil hearing and noted that she still claimed to be Ellen Stokes.
The garda confirmed that RSA insurance was at a loss of €14,143.37, which related to the company's legal costs to defend the case.
Gda Reilly agreed with Jennifer Jackson BL, defending, that the insurance company became suspicious of the claim before it came to court because of the fact that various different address and dates of birth were used on the forms.
Ms Jackson told the court that her client was a mother to 16 children, two of whom died as babies.
She said both Lawrence and her husband suffered from ill health and her client was worried about who would pay for their funerals when they died.
Counsel said her client was willing to save €50 per week in an effort to raise the €14,000 but acknowledged that would take some time.
Judge Pauline Codd sentenced Lawrence to three years in prison, suspended in full.