North East Wales

Woman from Chirk stole dead baby's identity

A mother whose dead baby's identity was stolen by a 53-year-old woman to commit fraud says the case has made her re-live her loss again.

Georgina Murphy, of Chirk near Wrexham, used the identity of Gail Jones to claim benefits and buy a house.

Murphy was given a nine-month jail sentence at Mold Crown Court, suspended for a year, after admitting nine offences of false accounting and fraud.

The baby's mother, Doreen Jones, said the identity ordeal had made her ill.

Gail died in May 1957 before she was a day old.

Mrs Jones, of Buckley, Flintshire, made a victim impact statement which she asked to be read in court because she wanted the emotional distress of Murphy's crime to be taken into account.

The statement said: "If a baby dies now, the parents get to hold her. They are given a photograph of their baby's hand and footprints.

"But back then, I never even got to hold her. All we were left with was the name we gave her - but now even that has been taken from us."

Prosecutor Alex Offer said it was a sophisticated fraud where the defendant had created and extensively used the false identity, which was possibly taken from a gravestone.

Murphy had obtained a National Insurance number in the baby's name, together with a birth certificate, utility bills and wage slips.

The court was told that she had used the baby's identity to claim benefits from 2006 to 2009 and buy a house.

Judge Philip Hughes said that he had to recognise that the amount of money the defendant received, about £7,450, was modest, she had pleaded guilty and was a woman of good character.

Murphy was also suffering from complex mental health problems brought about by experiences in her childhood.

She was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and placed on supervision for a year.

'Loved her'

Mrs Jones, now in her 80s, said in the victim impact statement that the fraud squad had called round and asked about Gail.

"It's difficult for me to explain how I felt at that moment," she said.

"I thought I was going to be told that there had been a mix up, that she had been given to someone else, and she was alive and grown up, that I was finally going to be able to see her and hold her and tell her I loved her.

"But instead we were told someone had obtained a copy of her birth certificate and had used her name to create a false identity."

She added: "I just hope something can be done to stop this sort of thing happening to other families like mine who had been through enough grief in losing a child, without being forced to re-live it and have the added anguish of their child's name being abused in this way."