UPDATED: Showjumping Wales NHS manager from Porthcawl found guilty

Friday, 11 January 2019

– Local People

by Contributed ItemContributed Item

A horse-lover was today (Friday, January 11, 2019) ordered to repay more than £8,000 sick pay she defrauded from the NHS for chronic back pain while competing at showjumping events.

Wales NHS hospital laboratory manager Elise David, 33, claimed she was in too much pain to work – but was caught on camera jumping over fences, on horseback, at four country events.

David went off on sick leave from her £49,000-a-year laboratory with back injuries and “cognitive deficiencies” after falling off her horse.

But she was described by a judge as “calculated, deliberate and dishonest” in making the bogus sick pay claims.

Nigel Fryer, prosecuting, said: “David was off work for the next four months but at that time she was was taking part in dressage, cross country and showjumping competitions during that time.”

A jury convicted her of fraud after hearing she took part in four show-jumping events on her seven-year-old gelding called Caereau Freeway.

David rode her horse at two events in Wales and two in the West Country at the time she claimed she had the chronic back pain.

Newport Crown Court heard David went to four equestrian events during her four months on the sick – but claimed she took her doctor’s advice to do “gentle exercise” as a green light to continue horse riding.

David even underwent medical examinations “only a matter of days” after she was found to be competing at equestrian events.

Witnesses claimed David appeared to “shuffle” and said “her gait was timid” and walked with a stick at the occupational health examinations which determined whether she was fit to work.

David had contacted her employers in June 2016 at the Surgical Materials Testing Laboratory in Bridgend, South Wales, where she worked as quality manager to say she had “injured her back and was struggling to walk”.

Mr Fryer said: “She called in on September 6 that year and stated she was still having difficulty walking and could not drive.”

A colleague of David found her name on the British Eventing website, displaying results for 2016 and 2017.

David, who has no previous convictions, has a degree in pharmaceutical studies and a masters in clinical research.

She started her job in January 2015 on £49,000. She was accused of fraud between July and October 2016.

David told the jury: “At that time I felt well enough and I wanted to ride my horse.

“The doctor said if I felt well enough, I could get back on the horse.

“I didn’t tell her I’d been on a horse since the first consultation because I didn’t want her to get worried about me.”

David, of Nottage, Porthcawl, denied fraud but was convicted after a three-day event in court.

She was handed a 12-week jail term, suspended for one year.

Judge Daniel Williams said: “You were employed as a quality manager and you were earning almost £50,000.

“You fell from your horse and claimed a sickness note. You claimed to be unfit to work for four months.

“During the four months you took part in four showjumping tournaments that I’m afraid says it all.”

David had appeared at occupational health examinations “shuffling” and with a “teetering gait” – despite having competed at equestrian shows only days beforehand.

Judge Williams condemned this as a “comical act”.

He said: “That was quite a contrast to the photographs I saw of you towering over jumps on your horse. You were calculated, deliberate and dishonest.”

David was ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and must pay £8,216.71 compensation to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board as well as £2,500 in costs.

Wales News Service

Article source: http://www.glamorgan-gem.co.uk/article.cfm?id=125836&headline=UPDATED:%20Showjumping%20Wales%20NHS%20manager%20from%20Porthcawl%20found%20guilty&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2019