A FORMER prisoner who claimed benefits worth thousands of pounds using personal details of a fireraising cellmate under threat of a lifetime behind bars has been jailed for four months, writes Bob Burgess.
David Williamson supplied the Department of Work and Pensions with Edwin Geirnaert’s national insurance number, pretending he had just been released from jail and needed a crisis loan.
The 47-year-old also used the personal details of a London woman and a retired medical professor.
Around £3,000 was paid into a bank account controlled by Williamson before the scam was rumbled.
Williamson of Bridge Place, Galashiels, admitted the fraud, committed between March 4 and May 18 last year.
He was on bail from the High Court at the time and was jailed at Selkirk Sheriff Court on Monday.
Just days earlier he was jailed for 30 months at the High Court in Edinburgh after he admitted four charges of breach of the peace by sending mail from Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison threatening to carry out murders and decapitations.
The Crown accepted his not-guilty plea of sending a death-threat letter to Sheriff Kevin Drummond.
Williamson, formerly from Jedburgh, managed to obtain Geirnaert’s details while serving a 22-month sentence in Saughton after threatening to shoot a newsagent in Jedburgh in January, 2008.
Williamson was then involved in a six-hour stand-off with armed police at his home in Bongate View during which he urged officers to shoot him.
Geirnaert, 59, was jailed last year after setting light to clothing at a Marks and Spencer store in Edinburgh’s Princes Street, which the judge said could have had disastrous consequences.
Shoppers were evacuated during the blaze which started in the children’s clothes section where the 59-year-old was caught on CCTV.
Geirnaert was jailed for 32 months, but a lifelong restriction order was imposed which means he will stay locked up if he is still thought to pose a danger. Williamson pleaded guilty to a fraud charge of pretending he was three named persons to obtain in the region of £3,000 in crisis loans from the Department of Work and Pensions between March 4 and May 18, 2010.
Sheriff Kevin Drummond said he was amazed that Williamson was described as being of low intelligence but still managed to come up with the scheme to obtain the money.
The court was told that Williamson made a mobile phone call claiming he was Geirnaert saying he had just been released from prison and was applying for a crisis loan.
He then failed to turn up for a meeting with the DWP but the money was still paid into Williamson’s bank account.
Sheriff Drummond observed: “You couldn’t make this up.”
Defence lawyer Peter Robertson admitted his client was sensationalist.