A MOTHER-of-two, who married a soldier, claimed benefits of almost £20,000 as a single person, but denied she had been dishonest, a jury was told.

Kelly Wilson-Latham, 35, wed Burnley-born Thomas Wilson in February 2010, but did not tell the Department for Work and Pensions or Pendle Borough Council her circumstances had changed.

She made a further claim for cash about 17 months after the wedding and allegedly deliberately kept quiet about the fact she had a husband, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told Mr Wilson lived on base at Catterick, returning to Wilson-Latham’s White Grove home in Colne at weekends and when on leave.

But Wilson-Latham claimed they were not living together as husband and wife and she did not know she had to notify the authorities about the marriage.

When fraud investigators from the DWP went to her address in September 2011, they found letters addressed to Mr Wilson, wedding and birthday cards and a booking form for a holiday in Sharm El Sheikh. Mr Wilson’s visa card was in the defendant's handbag.

Wilson-Latham denies three allegations of dishonestly failing to give prompt notification of a change in circumstances, involving income support, between February 26, 2010 and July 12, 2011, and council tax benefit and housing benefit between February 26, 2010 and September 28, 2011 and one count of fraud, regarding employment support allowance, between July 12 and September 28, 2011.

Patrick Buckley, prosecuting, said the defendant legitimately made a claim and received income support from September 2005, on the basis she was a single parent with two children. She also received housing and council tax benefits on the same basis, from Pendle Borough Council.

On February 26, 2010, she married Mr Wilson, a serving soldier.

Mr Buckley said in July 2011, Wilson-Latham also claimed ESA, on what she said was her inability to work.

Mr Buckley told the jury the notional figure the defendant was said to have received, which she was not entitled to, was £19,250.96.