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Cruel mum and dad forced daughter to use wheelchair for four years to claim extra disability benefits
8 February 2024, 14:07 | Updated: 8 February 2024, 14:10
A cruel mum and dad forced their healthy child to undergo unnecessary medical tests and use a wheelchair for four years as part of a scam to claim extra disability benefits.
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Louise Law, 50, and her ex-husband Martin, 54, first made their child use a wheelchair in 2012 when she was aged seven, a court heard.
The two then "fabricated illnesses and exaggerated symptoms" to NHS workers and the daughter's teachers - and in return where provided with a mobility car and disability allowance payments.
Hull Crown Court heard the wicked parents, from Goole, East Yorkshire, made their daughter suffer "gratuitous degradation" by making her use the wheelchair.
Due to the parents' actions over the "fabricated illnesses", the daughter was deprived of an ordinary childhood that saw her continually bullied at school, the court heard.
The healthy daughter - who is not named for legal reasons - was also subject to repeat doctor appointments and unnecessary hospital stays.
After doctors raised concerns that the parents were "fabricating or exaggerating" the daughter's supposed health problems, the child was placed into foster care when she was 12.
The daughter - who was interviewed as part of the investigation in September 2022 when she was aged 18 - said the parents initially started fabricating her illness when she was five or six.
They took her to a few medical appointments, which soon resulted in her being taken to the hospital around 30 times.
Prosecutor Louise Reevell told the court that the daughter was told she was unable to walk properly and was made to go to school in a wheelchair when she did not need to - all of which contributed to a mental health decline when she was placed in foster care.
She said the daughter eventually realised she was able to do everything that their parents told her she was unable to. She has since stopped all contact with her parents.
"I missed out on doing the normal things that other boys and girls were doing," a statement from the daughter read out in court said.
"My parents would tell me that I couldn't walk properly and I had a limp. I was subjected to bullying because I was in a wheelchair."
She said she had no idea why her mother would do this other than to collect additional disability benefits. The daughter said she was now "on the road to recovery".
Louise Law admitted to an offence of child cruelty after changing her plea on the day of the trial. She has now been jailed for six years and nine months.
The father Martin Law has since split from his wife and is now residing in a care home. He was ruled unfit to enter plea, but the jury convicted him of child cruelty.
Judge Kate Rayfield, passing judgment, told the mother: "You repeatedly raised the issue of a wheelchair. You were repeatedly advised against it.
"Despite all of tests revealing nothing wrong, you continued to subject [the child] to appointments and investigations. You did the talking yourselves, telling the doctors lies.
"This was a scam. You were telling [the child] to report symptoms that they never said that they had."