Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wife of Britain's oldest father of twins is £7,000 benefits cheat... and now she is carrying the 72-year-old's 13th child

By Claire Ellicott

Lisa Roden, 26, received thousands of pounds of benefits after failing to tell authorities she had married her 72-year-old husband, Richard. Pictured with twins Ruby (left) and Emily

The 26-year-old wife of Britain’s oldest father of twins has been exposed as a benefits cheat after failing to tell authorities she was no longer a single mother.

Lisa Roden, who is eight months pregnant with another child by her 72-year-old husband, falsely claimed £7,000 in council tax benefit and income support.

Her secret came to light following her wedding to Richard Roden in September last year, eight months after he had become the oldest man to father twins.

She overclaimed £6,901.58 between February 2009 and January this year.

At Walsall Magistrates’ Court on Monday she admitted two charges of failing to notify authorities of a change in circumstances.

The mother of three, from Walsall, said that when she married former welder Mr Roden in September 2009 she had sent letters to both authorities.

But these did not arrive and she claimed she had lost copies she had made of them.

Catherine McTighe, prosecuting, said: ‘She considered she had lived with Mr Roden since the twins were born.

‘This came to the attention of the national media on the first birthday of the twins.’

Roden, who also has a nine-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, had been paid the benefits as a single parent since 2002.

She told magistrates she had started to repay her council tax benefit to Walsall Council five months ago.

She was ordered to pay a £50 fine for each offence, £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Roden – who is 46 years her senior and has been married three times – is set to become a father of 13 next month when his wife is due to give birth to another girl, whom they have already named Madison.

A grandfather of 36 and great-grandfather of nine, Mr Roden was 71 when the twins Ruby and Emily were born – 50 years after the birth of his first child.

Yesterday at their terrace house Roden insisted she was not a benefits cheat and was not trying to ‘fiddle the system’.

Another on the way: The couple with their twins Ruby and Emily

She said: ‘I tried to notify them to tell them I was married and to show our current situation but apparently they never received the letters or have a record of the phone calls I made.

'I tried to explain that it wasn’t my fault that these people had not received the letters.

‘But I lost the copies of the ones I made during a clear-out.

‘We’re not trying to fiddle the system whatsoever. It was just a mistake.’

She added: ‘I’m just happy I’m not going to prison because I have three young children and another on the way that I need to be here to take care of.’

Her husband added: ‘We are not cheats.

‘I’ve worked hard all my life and I’ve only ever needed help once in all my years.

‘Lisa is a good person – that is why I married her. She is not trying to beat the system.’

The couple managed to conceive their third daughter, who is due a day before the twins’ birthday on January 29, despite Mr Roden suffering from bladder cancer over the past year.

Mr and Mrs Roden with the twin girls and one of his other daughters, Bethany in October 2009

Roden, who is a full-time mother, insists it will be the couple’s last child.

They met while studying at an adult education college five years ago and became lovers a year later.

Mr Roden has ten other children from two previous marriages, of whom the eldest is 52

Despite his health problems, he said he was looking forward to the latest addition to his family.

‘I’m very excited,’ he said. ‘I was with Lisa all the way through the twins’ birth and I wanted to cut the cord but they wouldn’t let me.

‘I’m hoping they’ll let me cut the cord for Madison.’

He added: ‘I wouldn’t swap my little girls for the lottery.

‘The cancer made me poorly for a bit, but being around my girls picks me up.

‘They give me strength and I get so much pleasure out of watching them. At my age, they have put new life into me. It is not a hindrance, it is a joy.’


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