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Thursday 13 December 2012 Updated: 14/12 14:15
AN ILLEGAL immigrant assumed the identity of a baby who had died 20 years ago to stay in the country, a court heard.
Jamaican-born Stacey-Ann Small used a birth certificate in the name of Rachel Davies to obtain a driving licence and two passports. She even used it to get married and register the birth of her second child.
The 29-year-old mother of two, formerly of Druid Road in Coventry, also made fraudulent claims to Coventry City Council for housing and council tax benefits with the new identity.
And she made claims to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council when she moved to her most recent address in Potlidge Crescent, Bedworth before two more false claims to the Department for Work and Pensions.
All of this was done under the name of Rachel Davies who had been born in Nottingham Women’s Hospital in May 1981 but tragically died from bronchial pneumonia before her first birthday.
Small - who claimed £23,230 in benefits to which she was not entitled between August 2008 and January this year - pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to six charges of fraud and three of making false statements.
She also admitted possessing an identity document with improper intention, was jailed for two years, It is likely to be deported to Jamaica after serving her sentence.
Small was found out when the police child protection unit in Nuneaton investigated her for neglecting her children by leaving them at home alone while she was at work, for which she has since been jailed for 16 weeks.
Even when a police check revealed she had a conviction for assault in 2006 under her real name, Small insisted she was Rachel Davies and had given a false name on that occasion.
Sean Logan, defending, said after coming to this country on a short term visitors' visa for a wedding in 2001, Small was put under pressure to stay and become involved in criminal activity with her brothers.
Her family blamed her when two of her brothers got jailed for drugs matters and she ran away.
Mr Logan added: "She was provided with the false ID; she did not obtain it herself. She says she did not know it was a deceased person, and only learned that since her arrest."
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told Small she would have caused very real hurt to the parents of the baby whose identity she took on.
"I very much hope they do not know anything of this, because I am very well aware of the hurt it causes to people who have suffered this sort of loss that 20 years later someone is going around with the identity of their dead child."
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