A WOMAN was forced to turn to crime after having her benefits stopped while in a coma because she was “not expected to survive,” a court heard yesterday.
Lisa Hartley from Hull was arrested for breaking into a boarded-up council house earlier this month and stealing piping, door handles and a letterbox.
She had previously been in hospital fighting for her life for over two months and had her benefits cut.
When asked why she and an accomplice had stolen the scrap metal, Ms Hartley replied she “needed a bit of money.”
At Hull Magistrates’ Court, Ms Hartley’s solicitor Ed Cunnah said: “I’m sure you have seen details of the sad situation that led to her losing her benefits for a couple of months.
“I’m absolutely shocked someone who was in a coma in hospital, and was not expected to survive, lost their benefits for nine weeks through no fault of their own.”
Ms Hartley was ordered to pay £100 in total court costs which are set to be deducted from her now restored benefits.
Chairman of the bench Steven Larard said: “We are quite surprised this matter came to court.
“I would have thought this could have been dealt with by a police warning or caution.”
The case was reminiscent of that of Sheila Holt, from Rochdale, who was told to find work despite having been in a coma for weeks.
Ms Holt, who died last year, suffered a heart attack after being forced to enter a work programme despite her severe anxiety.
Ministers apologised for Ms Holt’s death, but the family still feared others would suffer similar fates.