herald

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Woman accused of insurance claim fraud 'fled court'

Winnifred Lawrence allegedly exaggerated her claim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Winnifred Lawrence allegedly exaggerated her claim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

A pensioner accused of exaggerating an insurance claim for injuries absconded from court on the day the civil action was due to be heard.

Winnifred Lawrence (69), who has been charged with deception, left the court when gardai spoke to her after the insurance company became suspicious, it is alleged.

A judge has now decided the deception case is too serious to be dealt with at Blanchards-town District Court and has adjourned it.

Lawrence intends to plead guilty to the charge, said Matthew Kenny, defending.

She will be sent to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Lawrence, of Moorfield Grove, Clondalkin, is charged with dishonestly by deception inducing a woman to do an act "to wit, believe you were another woman", with the intention of making gain.

The offence is alleged to have happened at the Blackrock Clinic, Rock Road, Blackrock, on December 7, 2017.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had consented to the case being dealt with at district court level subject to jurisdiction being considered.

Doctor

A summary of the case had been given on an earlier date, and Judge Paula Murphy had asked for more details.

Gda Sgt Maria Callaghan clarified that while the court had heard previously that Lawrence had left the clinic without seeing a doctor, she in fact had kept the appointment, which had been set up by the insurance company.

A report was compiled and, following this, the insurance company became suspicious and contacted gardai.

A garda had attended the civil court for the hearing of Lawrence's claim and spoken to her, said Sgt Callaghan.

The garda knew her as Lawrence, but she gave another name, which was the name on the claim.

Lawrence had "absconded from court" that day, said Sgt Callaghan.

Judge Murphy refused juris- diction to deal with the case.

Mr Kenny said that the case could be sent forward to the circuit court on a signed plea of guilty on the next date, March 7.

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