Daughter says inheritance actually for cats

A woman who has been accused of concealing a  £50,000 inheritance gift from her Mum in order not to lose her pension credits says the gift was actually for her mother's cats.

Marlene Howes, aged 67, says that although she is the named beneficiary in her mother's Will, her mother had communicated to her verbally that the gift was for the sole purpose of caring for her 14 Persian cats and other kittens. Mrs Howes says her mother bought the best food for her cats, going to the butcher or supermarket everyday, and ran up cat food bills of £180 a week. She also says that veterinary bills added up to £30,000 over a 7 year period.

She claims that she never considered the money to be hers, and that she opened up a 'Cats account' to put it into. That is why she never notified the Department of Work and Pensions she claims.

Mrs Howes is said to have claimed £22,000 in benefits between 2005 and 2011, and denies the charges of making false statements or concealing her true financial capital. The case has been adjourned until October so that the court can access the full details of Mrs Howes bank accounts.

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