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Workington single mum who stole woman’s identity is spared prison

Melissa Sue Haughin after leaving Carlisle Crown Court

A SINGLE mum who stole a woman’s identity before racking up debts with catalogue companies has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Melissa Sue Haughin, 35, opened mail meant for the previous occupant of a Workington house she moved into, and used that female’s name, date of birth and a bogus email address to set up catalogue accounts after being refused credit herself.

After that began, in 2014, Haughin initially paid bills she generated from buying children’s clothing, electrical goods, furniture and Christmas gifts. But in 2017, long-standing disability benefit payments were cut after reassessment, meaning Haughin began “racking up” credit and interest payments she couldn’t afford.

Carlisle Crown Court heard her victim received “unpleasant” correspondence from debt collectors, “threats of bankruptcy” and was the subject of a county court judgement.

Haughin, of Bowness Court, Workington, pleaded guilty to a £1,027.87 fraud.

In an impact statement, the victim spoke of “countless sleepless nights” and her life being “invaded”. She said of the culprit: “Her behaviour and disregard for another person’s life is phenomenal.”

After hearing mitigation and that Haughin was the single mother of three young children, Judge Peter Davies suspended a 14-month prison sentence for two years. Haughin must complete a six-month night-time curfew and rehabilitation. Judge Davies also made a £1,027.87 compensation order for “identity theft” offending which, he concluded, had been both “sustained” and “planned”.

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