This is Amanda Hyett. She is accused of defrauding the Dept of Work and Pensions and her local council of £35,885.27 in Income Support, Council Tax and Housing Benefit.
Before I go any further it is probably right to mention that Ms Hyett is the sister of the Karen Matthew’s ex-lover. (You may remember that Karen Matthews hatched a plot to raise money by arranging for her daughter to be kidnapped.) However Ms Hyett was not involved in, or certainly was not charged with, any part in that crime.
Right, so I’m pretty certain we could all agree that the whole lot of them are thoroughly unpleasant people, but what the rest of her family has been up to has, or should have, no connection to her own crimes.
Simply, she has stolen the sum of £35,885.27 from us. She has been released on bail while pre-sentence reports are prepared but the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier, warned her that the fact that she is on bail should not be considered to be any indication that she will not receive a custodial sentence.
Now compare her situation with that of Jacqui Smith, ex Home Secretary, who, by her own admission should not have claimed her housing benefit to the tune of £116,000. Hyatt’s theft is rather small beer in comparison. However Smith got away with standing up in parliament and apologising to her fellow MPs, many of them in the same situation as she is. Consider also the case of the ex-Minister in the Department of Work and Pensions who claimed, albeit a lesser sum, for his parents’ house. He, too, only had to make a grovelling apology and repay the sum of £13,837.
Can anyone suggest a reason for the difference in the treatment of these people?