Christopher Blackburn jailed over father death fraud
Published: 14th Mar 2012 14:18:25
A 29-year-old man who failed to report the death of his father for nearly five months and claimed his benefit payments has been jailed for three years.
Police found the body of Guy Blackburn, 54, on a bed in the living room of his home in Penwortham, Lancashire, last March after neighbours raised concerns.
Christopher Blackburn, from Birkby, Huddersfield, admitted theft and preventing a lawful burial of a body.
Preston Crown Court heard he took his father's benefit payments of £1,869.
The court was told the defendant continued living in the house with his 10-year-old daughter and lied to her that her grandfather was asleep in his room.
A Home Office post-mortem examination revealed Mr Blackburn had died from natural causes, probably about several months earlier.
The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell, said: "Such offending is abhorrent to all decent-minded people who will be disgusted by your behaviour.
"It was callous and offensive to his (Guy Blackburn) friends and family who no doubt have been caused considerable distress by these circumstances.
"It also seems to me that you were motivated in part by greed."
The court heard Blackburn lied to police that he had spoken to his father since November 2010 and he had a drink with him at Christmas.
Judge Russell told him: "You pretended he was still alive, misleading others - particularly your own daughter, a little girl.
"You have shown little remorse for your offending.
"A decent person would have immediately admitted to the police that this poor man had died months before but you tried to pretend he had been dead for only days."
Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said the defendant had moved into his father's house after he separated from his girlfriend and the mother of his child.
He lived upstairs while his father slept downstairs.
The court was told Mr Blackburn had health problems because of alcohol abuse and had lost contact with the rest of his family, leaving his son as his main carer.
The prosecutor said the defendant's ex-girlfriend recalled that Blackburn initially made excuses for their daughter not to stay over at the house.
She visited the address herself in November 2010 and noticed there were a lot of air fresheners upstairs and remembered holding her nose because of the smell, Miss McAteer said.
She assumed that Mr Blackburn was ill or asleep in his room.
Her daughter's visits continued but in February last year she told her that "grandad was dead".
"She simply had no reason to believe there was any truth in what her daughter was saying," she said. "It seems that the girl had told other children that 'grandad was dead'.
"It appears she later told her mother that the defendant had told her that grandfather was asleep."
During this period, Blackburn had met a new woman and was living on and off with her in Huddersfield, the court heard.
He was not present at the house when police responded to concerns about Mr Blackburn's welfare.
Miss McAteer said it was "immediately apparent" he had been dead for "some considerable time" when police called.
At 23:50:47 in EnglandVeteran Labour MP Frank Dobson has confirmed he will stand down at the general election next year.
At 23:36:33 in HeadlinesA suicide bomb has killed at least 21 people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police and medical officials have said.
At 23:29:20 in SportManchester City Under-21s walked off during a friendly in Croatia after one of their players was allegedly racially abused by an opponent.
At 23:27:05 in SportWorld record holder Usain Bolt has criticised the decision to reduce Tyson Gay's doping ban because he co-operated with the US Anti-Doping Agency.
At 23:05:49 in SportLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Steven Gerrard's international retirement is "great" for the club.
At 22:51:04 in PoliticsA Lib Dem MP has been accused of making "vile comments" on social media about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
At 22:43:40 in SportManager Ronny Deila is asking for improvements after Celtic's 4-0 Champions League second qualifying win over KR Reykjavik round at Murrayfield.
At 22:37:48 in SportExecutive vice-chairman Ed Woodward says servicing Manchester United's debt does not affect the running of the club because of their commercial success.
At 22:31:33 in HeadlinesA Tajik academic held for over a month on suspicion of espionage has been released on bail, the BBC's Tajik service reports.
At 22:26:09 in HeadlinesAuthorities in New York are investigating who raised two large white flags on the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge early on Tuesday.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Christopher Blackburn jailed over father death fraud [Online] (Updated 14th Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1416363/Christopher-Blackburn-jailed-over-father-death-fraud [Accessed 23rd Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
More "voids" have been found beneath an east Belfast road that was closed after a large hole was discovered under one of its traffic lanes.
A trio of major British films are to receive their world premieres at this year's Toronto Film Festival (TIFF).
Manchester City Under-21s walked off during a friendly in Croatia after one of their players was allegedly racially abused by an opponent.
Fire fighters have been called to the newly-reopened Glasgow Science Centre tower.
Veteran Labour MP Frank Dobson has confirmed he will stand down at the general election next year.
Apple has reported quarterly profits of $7.75bn (£4.5bn) - up 12% on the same period last year.