London

Barbara Fari sentenced to jail over £750,000 claim

A woman who tried to claim a £750,000 payout for an exaggerated injury has been sentenced to three months in jail.

Barbara Fari, 59, from Hornsey, north London, lied to housing group Homes for Haringey, about how badly she was hurt after tripping on uneven paving.

She claimed that the fall had aggravated her pre-existing arthritis.

The mother-of-13 and her husband, Piper, were found in contempt of court. Mr Fari received a two-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

High Court judge Mr Justice Spencer stayed the term, pending any appeal. Mrs Fari will face jail if an appeal is not lodged by 29 November.

The couple were also ordered to pay £100,000 in costs.

Twisted knee

Homes for Haringey, which manages council housing in the north London borough, admitted liability and offered Mrs Fari £7,500 when she twisted her right knee in May 2008.

However, she pursued a massive claim, which was struck out by a judge in October 2012 after covert video evidence revealed a huge difference between how she presented herself during medical examinations and when she was out near her home in Lightfoot Road.

Mrs Fari claimed that the fall meant she was no longer able to look after her large family and instead relied on their care.

The couple denied contempt and Mrs Fari, who is illiterate, said she relied on the advice of solicitors and simply signed documents that were not properly explained to her.

However, the judge said Mrs Fari was a "strong and domineering" character who pursued the case while her unemployed husband of 27 years went along with it.

'Grossly false'

The judge said she had presented a "grossly false" picture of her continuing symptoms to doctors.

Sentencing the couple, Mr Justice Spencer said Mrs Fari's injuries had affected her life for a matter of months and the claim was only worth a few thousand pounds.

"False claims can take up a great deal of court time and precious resources," he said.

"The courts have made it very clear that those who make false claims and are caught out must expect to go to prison. "

Homes for Haringey's solicitor, Jennifer Harris, said: "If the original claim had been for a realistic sum which reflected the true extent of the injury, this case would have been settled long ago and need never have come to court."

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