UK & World News

  • 14 December 2012, 16:00

MPs' Expenses: Moran Given Supervision Order

Former Labour MP Margaret Moran is so mentally ill she would have to be restrained in order to leave her house, a court heard as she was sentenced for fiddling her expenses.

Moran, 57, who represented Luton South for 13 years, received more than 53,000 from the taxpayer as a result of the fraud.

She claimed nearly her entire annual allowance in one bogus expense entry and forged invoices for more than 20,000 for non-existent goods and services.

The disgraced former MP's claims were the largest amount uncovered in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, but she could not be convicted after a judge ruled she was unfit to stand trial for mental health reasons.

She was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to a two-year supervision and treatment order, to be supervised by Southampton City Council.

Moran was not present in court to hear Mr Justice Saunders make the ruling.

However, her psychiatrist, Dr Simon Kelly, from the Priory Hospital in Southampton, said he last saw her on Tuesday and described her as "very distressed, very agitated" and "severely ill".

He added: "She's living a restricted lifestyle, she's not answered the telephone at home for approximately three years, she goes out very occasionally, to a local supermarket for 30 minutes."

Moran found a newspaper report in November that she had been spotted at a pub in London "deeply distressing", Dr Kelly said.

Asked how she would have reacted if she had to come to court, the psychiatrist said: "She is so sensitised to publicity, this would have been the most difficult place for her to come.

"I wonder physically whether it would be possible to get her here.

"I don't know whether it would be physically possible to remove her from her home without restraining her."

Sentencing Moran to the supervision order, Mr Justice Saunders told the court he expected there would be a feeling that she had "got away with it"

He said: "All the evidence in the case was that she was unfit to plead. If I had reached any other conclusion my decision would have been perverse and would inevitably have been successfully appealed."

The judge said the order would be under the supervision of a mental health social worker and Moran would continue treatment with Dr Kelly.

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