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not to be overjoyed that a mother of four is being sent to jail for massive benefit fraud?

(219 Posts)

story here

I just wonder what will happen to the children in this case. The crime Amanda Webber committed is serious and she should be punished but taking the mother away from her 8 children for up to 4 years will have a damaging effect on these children. The sentence should be in the community and involve her paying back society with work, making a contribution - not being housed in a prison.

This is not to undermine the seriousness of the offence I just can't see the 'benefit' to society of locking this person up - she is not dangerous - she does need to accept what she has done is so very wrong and make amends this can be done in a community sentence surely. The children should not be punished if it can be avoided.

Just my thoughts on hearing the news.

Bastard phone! Gone on to do very well and more or less 'lost' a diagnosis. But in that case you stop claiming. You don't repeatedly fill in DLA forms saying that your child can't do stuff that they can. Nor do you steal other people's stories & think they apply to your own life.

I mean ds1 needs help dressing. If left alone - as a teen - he'll appear wearing 8 year old ds3's t shirt & a dirty pair of trousers. Meanwhile ds2 - in his most recent professional performance - had five costume changes, 4 in 20 minutes. You can't do that if you need help dressing - needing help dressing indicates a very high level of need - it doesn't mean 'finds buttons a bit difficult'. (One of ds2's chaperones did make it her aim to teach him to do shoelaces grin - but that still doesn't count as help needed in planet DLA). Ds1 - in recept of higher rate DLA (which one of her kids must have been if she had a notability car) can't even WATCH ds2 perform in any of his professional shows, let alone take part.

She's a liar and a thief. She definitely stole money, and quite possibly other people's stories & ideas. I feel sorry for her kids but not her.

Justgetting I do wonder whether she began to believe it (or feel a sense of identity around having an autistic child). In the small autism forum I found her rude, abrasive & unpleasant but I didn't doubt that she had autistic kids. I did assume that the autistic ones weren't the West End performers though!!!

Oh & she did come across as very jealous of someone in the group who was fairly well known. So maybe she is desperate for fame (why? I suppose she has that now!) or something.

ithaka Mon 27-May-13 09:11:08

I more disgusted by the way she used and manipulated her children for her own ends than by the benefit fraud per se.

To abuse your children by making them lie and be complicit in your crimes in order to acquire personal luxuries is so sick and wrong, I can see why a jail sentence was seen as appropriate.

This is more than straight forward benefit fraud - she used her children and that is an abuse of trust that, in my opinion, warrants a custodial sentence.

Sallyingforth Mon 27-May-13 09:34:54

Agree with all the people who say the sentence was well deserved.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 09:48:26

she actually comes across as a spoiled brat just doing it all to get her own way, I know it goes deeper than brattish but you know what I mean

Jamillalliamilli Mon 27-May-13 11:24:57

Saintly I think that one's in their 20's by now?

That’s what hurts reading it all. What d/s can't do is destroyong what he can. He can dress himself, eventually. But the choice of in what, has to be made the night before and checked for appropriateness.

He uses a list and prompts to try and help him dress.

Things still go on wrong layer first, upside down, inside out, madly buttoned, wrong footed, have to be tried several times, sometimes rescued, minor injuries, rage and frustration contained and dealt with, and the process takes over an hour and often ends in screaming, and him fit for nothing.
Lot’s of clothes get wrecked, socks live a month because he forces them on so hard. Shoes eight to twelve weeks and I’m constantly replacing sleeves, bias binding trouser seams, glueing shoes, and repairing everything.

He used to not care what he looked like but he’s gone the opposite way.

He still can’t manage his own hair or shaving independently. Not helped by facial hair growing down on one side round and pointed upwards on the other! With help, it’s three tortured hours to wash, dress, and leave, without eating, inevitably running late and horribly stressed. Without help he’s usually hours late.

From boot camp to leaving him to fend for himself, everyone could in their minds, "sort him out". I've done something wrong or not tried enough. (yes we honestly have tried star charts.)

The huge effort and being screamed at every morning leaves me exhausted. Then everyone tells me how fantastic he is and how he's come up with some great idea, and what a great future he has, and I smile and nod and agree that he's amazing, and quietly think yes, but when you realise the struggle he has just to get dressed or stay on top of each day, you won’t realise it's the flip side and help him so he can achieve those ideas, you'll all move on, and none of it will actually happen.

Jamillalliamilli Mon 27-May-13 11:35:20

Ithaka and that's the point some of those of us who have children with extreme spikey profiles have already been seen as possibly manipulating our children and making them helpless for some perverted end, because it's so much easier than accepting they might be incredibly able at some things but have massive basic deficits elsewhere, and it really hurts and is very damaging for the child.

She's apparently added another reason why we might be doing it to the accuser’s arsenal, so I know it’s not a great reason, but the fact she’s been imprisoned for it hopefully sends out a message that on top of the damage we'd be doing to our children, we really would have a lot to lose if their problems weren’t all painfully true. Maybe that's a bit warped of me, but it's how I feel.

Yes I think in their 20's as well just, maybe 2 of them.

I think really she's just an out & out cheat. I'm surprised she got away with it for so long & yes I agree Ithaca. I suppose if they do have some issues (or did) then what she's done (morally?) is even worse. It really doesn't help those with kids who appear high functioning but have difficulties getting through the day (that doesn't affect us as ds1 doesn't appear high functioning but I have friends in that situation who already have enough trouble from Daily Mail types.

manicinsomniac Brazil Mon 27-May-13 21:49:24

munchausen's syndrome by proxy? (clutching at straws!)

or stage mum gone mad.

Dreadful story. She does deserve jail but I feel so sorry for those kids. They may well not be better off without her. And they'll be losing all those opportunities they've got so used to which they never had the right to. Soul destroying.

scottishmummy France Mon 27-May-13 23:05:40

oh stop it.stop looking for feeble reasons.is it so hard to fathom?greed
she is greedy,manipulative woman who netted £10k month,kids private school
what is sad is the countless many who genuinely struggle under an imposing system

alotofthetimes Tue 28-May-13 04:39:49

I do think she should be made to pay it back as well though.

She will most likely get out in 2 years and then I think she should be given community service work as well to pay back the money. Though it is likely to take more than 20 years to pay back that sum!

I agree with the posters saying that she is a bad influence around her children. This is a big family and they have grown up seeing her do this and if she had received a lesser punishment then it is more likely that they may consider defrauding the system as well. I think that her going to jail is an excellent deterrent to her own children.

alotofthetimes Tue 28-May-13 04:59:59

I just googled her name and found a fundrasing page with 'her story' about being mum to autistic children on it. I cannot believe she lied about this this. Just shocking! [shocked] Those poor children, I cannot believe what they must feel about it all. Do they think they have actually have autism or were they told to lie about it as well?!

They may have had autism. Despite it being a 'lifelong condition' I do know children who were diagnosed & have gone on to become incredibly high functioning & lose the diagnosis. I know some children dxd the same time as ds1 who now need no support in school, who will live independent lives who show very little signs of their early difficulties. At 2 they were pretty indistinguishable from ds1, who is severely autistic & has never developed speech. So she may not have lied about that (although I'm not sure it's helpful to continue referring to the dx if your children have effectively lost it).

DLA isn't about your diagnosis it's about how much help & care you need -& the application form asks very detailed questions about that - that's where she definitely lied.

Jamillalliamilli Tue 28-May-13 09:44:34

Saintly what you’ve just said is exactly why children didn’t used to be diagnosed young, unless they were very clearly badly affected on many levels.
The incidence of properly diagnosed children recovering from it or growing out of it was very low too, and the constant assumption that if only enough star charts, crystals, or chelation had been used by the parent, everything would be just fine now, was nothing like as bad.

The collision of those wanting to get intervention in early, in case, and those wanting it to become a high incidence condition to remove funding, has done no favours for those who ‘look/sound ok’ but aren’t, and has muddied a lot of waters leaving the way open for that sort of abuse.
I agree she's lied knowingly on the forms.

Manic it’s not MBP, No parent with MBP who believed their children cripplingly terrified of crowds would be sending them alone on train and tube. They’d be insisting on accompanying them everywhere were crowds might be, while the child wondered why!
I feel for the children too, but I’m pretty sure they lost a lot back in 2009 when she was first busted so it won’t be as awful a shock at this point.

JakeBullet Tue 28-May-13 10:53:44

It's because of people like this woman that many of us have a hard time. My DS is autistic, it was diagnosed at 7, it is high functioning in that he has speech and on initially meeting him you would be excused for not realising. He gets middle rate care and lower rate mobility (no "free" car...my car was a £250 one from eBay grin) and it basically allows me to be a SAHM and support him with his extra needs. It is helping him massively and he has many less issues as a result of having me around.

But due to people like this woman it is much easier now to wonder about children like DS and to wonder about ME.

tungthai Tue 28-May-13 12:05:05

How did she get away with it for so long?

Shocking.

pinkballetflats Tue 28-May-13 12:40:34

What I'm not overjoyed about is that the few cases of hugely taking the piss like this woman gives people who don't want to think too hard to say that people who are on benefits are wasters/lazy/fraudsters etc etc.

I've got no problem with her getting a jail sentence - not one bit. Sad for her kids, but just because you have children doesn't excuse one for behaving badly and breaking the rules: she has a brain, obviously, she should have thought about the consequences; she had plenty of time to.

blueshoes Tue 28-May-13 13:00:06

The last thing people like her need to be incentivised to do is have more children. Children are not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

YABU

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