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Five members of one family done for fraud over staged accident pictured as three jailed over compo scam plot

Five members of one family done for fraud over staged accident pictured as three jailed over compo scam plot

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THESE are the five members of the one family who have been done for fraud over a staged accident — with three sent to jail over the compo scam plot in which they smashed in their own windows and inflicted their own injuries.

The claims centered on mum Anne Cawley, 57, alleging that she got a sudden chest pain while driving which caused her to swerve off into a ditch.

Five members of one family done for fraud over staged accident pictured as three jailed over compo scam plot
The claims centered on mum Anne Cawley
Paddy Cummins
Five members of one family done for fraud over staged accident pictured as three jailed over compo scam plot
Chancer Bernard Cawley feigned unconsciousness
Paddy Cummins
Five members of one family done for fraud over staged accident pictured as three jailed over compo scam plot
John Carthy
Paddy Cummins

Her four passengers — daughter Anne Bourke, 34, sons Bernard, 25, and Michael Cawley, 30, and another relative John Carthy, 34 — all made personal injury claims alleging serious injuries in the single-vehicle incident, with three of them also complaining of lacerations.

Kilkenny Circuit Court heard that emergency services were called to the scene of the reported road accident near Mullinavat in the county.

The roof of the Volkswagen Golf had to be cut off by emergency personnel at the time because of bogus claims of back and neck injuries.

Thirty-two members of the fire service, gardai and ambulance service attended at the scene and liaised with five other colleagues in a support capacity after midnight on November 10, 2014.

‘MASSIVE WASTE OF RESOURCES’

Chancer Bernard even feigned unconsciousness to the first responders with the occupants of the car taken to hospital.

But a judge declared the damage to the motor and the injuries and lacerations claimed were not caused by a car accident, with cops believing the claimants broke the car windows and headlights themselves.

And after hearing evidence about the “massive waste of resources” of the emergency services over the episode, Judge Cormac Quinn yesterday sent Bernard, Michael and John to jail for a year each — with the trio sentenced to two and a half years with 18 months suspended.

Mother and daughter Anne Cawley and Anne Bourke were also sentenced to two and a half years but their sentences were fully suspended for three years.

Hitting out at the scam, Judge Quinn said: “This was a pre-planned accident which was staged.

“The motive was to unlawfully obtain compensation.”

The five relatives, all members of the Travelling community and originally from Kilkenny,­ appeared in court yesterday on a deception rap, under the Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

They were each convicted of attempting to make a gain or causing a loss to another by deception.

Kilkenny Circuit Court heard that the “accident” was staged and there was a “pre-planned scheme” involving the five co-accused.

During the hearing, it was revealed the Volkswagen Golf was only insured by Anne Cawley, of Oak Terrace, Lisduggan, Waterford, a month before the accident in November 2014.

When they arrived at hospital, Anne Cawley did not get treatment, claiming that her pain was “gone”.

PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS

But her four passengers maintained they had been hurt and made personal injury claims against Axa, who was Cawley’s insurer.

The court heard passengers Bourke, of Lintown Grove, Bernard Cawley, of Assumption Place, Michael Cawley, of Linton Court, and John Carthy, of St Kieran’s Crescent — all in Kilkenny — proceeded to take personal injuries claims. Three of the claims were made in the Circuit Court and the fourth in the High Court.

But Axa, from an early stage, refused to cover for the “so-called accident” — with emergency personnel immediately expressing suspicions about it. A Garda investigation was also launched, leading to all five being arrested and charged.

The crooks all maintained that the accident was genuine and only pleaded guilty to deception charges after two days of evidence at trial.

Sentencing them yesterday, Judge Quinn praised the emergency services — who insisted it was an “extremely low velocity impact” incident — for helping to rumble the scammers’ plot.

Sergeant John Shorthall gave evidence that he became concerned about the cause of the crash when he found that there was no glass outside the car on the road.

HEADLIGHTS ‘BASHED IN’

The sergeant said in his view the glass in the windows had been broken “from outside the vehicle” and that those with lacerations had then “sat in on the glass”.

Sgt Shorthall also told how a bumper which had broken off appeared to have been struck in a downward direction and there were pieces of masonry on it.

The headlights of the red Volkswagen Golf were also “bashed in”, with gardai finding a rock with red paint on it on grass nearby.

The wheels of the vehicle were also pointed inwards towards the ditch — showing no signs of the driver battling to avoid a collision.

And Judge Quinn continued: “Obviously the circumstances of this case involve what is referred to as insurance type fraud.”

 

Handing down the sentences, the judge said that he wanted to send out a “deterrent” to other would-be insurance scammers.

Welcoming the outcome, Axa fraud investigation manager Colm Featherstone told the Irish Sun last night: “The most shocking aspect of this was that the time of so many first responders was wasted. This company will continue to defend spurious claims in future.”

Costs incurred by Axa in dealing with the claims came to €18,512.

Five members of one family done for fraud over staged accident pictured as three jailed over compo scam plot
Anne Bourke
Paddy Cummins
Five members of one family done for fraud over staged accident pictured as three jailed over compo scam plot
Michael Cawley
Paddy Cummins