South West Wales

Alan and Helen Knight jailed over fake coma court con

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Media captionThe BBC's Hywel Griffith at Swansea Crown Court: ''CCTV footage shows him happily going to spend his earnings at the local supermarket''

A man who faked being in a coma for two years to avoid a fraud trial has been jailed along with his wife for trying to con the courts.

Alan Knight, 48, and wife Helen, 34, of Sketty, Swansea, had admitted perverting the course of justice.

Helen Knight was jailed for 10 months at Swansea Crown Court on Friday.

Her husband, who was jailed in November 2014 on fraud and forgery charges, will serve another 14 months on top of his current prison term.

Judge Huw Davies told Knight - appearing via videolink from prison - and his wife they had both committed an "extreme" example of intending to pervert the course of justice.

He said: "It resulted in significant delay in bringing the offender to justice."

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Image caption Holiday photos were found by police on a computer

He said this added to the distress of those facing giving evidence as Knight's trial was delayed time and time again over a period of two years.

The judge called Knight's deception "calculated" and told his wife: "All in all your behaviour was unscrupulous and selfish."

The judge told the court the couple came up with their elaborate plan to feign a "catastrophic" illness to try to stop the husband's trial for theft, fraud and forgery.

He had been accused of taking £40,000 of the the life savings of his elderly neighbour, who had dementia.

Every time someone in authority visited Knight, he pretended he was paraplegic and often in a coma.

He admitted himself to hospital for a total of 10 weeks to avoid the trial and convinced some GPs about his mystery illness.

Numerous tests were carried out but they all concluded he had nothing physically wrong with him.

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Media captionAlan Knight and his wife kept up the con - even when attending earlier court hearings

Meanwhile, his wife wrote to the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and her local MP and AM, telling them her husband was being forced to go to court even though he was a paraplegic and in a permanent vegetative state.

Her local MP even took on her case, writing to Mr Knight's solicitors.

Eventually their lies were exposed after police found CCTV and picture evidence from their computer.

The photographs showed them on holiday, on day trips to places like Legoland and at a friend's wedding.

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