A man has been sentenced after CCTV caught him purposely banging his knee five times on a paving stone in order to make a fake injury claim. When he’d spotted the camera, he started to hop on one leg in an attempt to authenticate his injury.
On Friday 6th March 2020, Malcolm Harrison, 41, of Powys, Wales, was sentenced at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court. He received a two-year Community Order and 200 hours Community Service. He was also ordered to pay £1000 in costs.
He’d originally pleaded not guilty to one count of fraud by false representation and a trial was scheduled, but he later changed his plea to guilty. If his claim had been successful, he would have fraudulently gained £6,680.
Detective Constable Joanne Farrell, who led the investigation for the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said:
“Even after being shown the CCTV footage several times in interview, which clearly showed his claim was fraudulent, Harrison initially denied any wrongdoing, dishonestly telling police they were misinterpreting the footage. He then entered a not guilty plea at court, meaning the matter would have proceeded to trial at Crown Court.
“Eventually he saw sense and pleaded guilty before his trial began, and has been rightfully punished for trying to steal several thousand pounds from the insurer.”
The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) launched a criminal investigation into Harrison after a referral from the National Insurance and Guarantee Corporation (NIG), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Direct Line Group (DLG).
Harrison had submitted an injury claim to NIG, stating that a paving stone had cracked underfoot as he jogged back to his block of flats, causing him to fall over and injure his knee.
However, the housing association for the block of flats provided CCTV footage to NIG, which clearly showed that this is not what happened. In reality, the initial crack in the paving stone didn’t cause any injury to Harrison when he jogged over it.
The CCTV shows him step on it to break it further and proceed to deliberately bang his knee five times on a nearby paving stone. Harrison then spots the CCTV camera, and at this point, he starts to hop on one leg to try and show that he’s injured.
NIG sent a letter to Harrison, informing him that they were rejecting his claim and he was also provided with the CCTV footage. Despite this, Harrison disputed NIG’s decision and during his interview with IFED officers, he continued to stand by his claim.
He said he tripped and fell just out of shot of the CCTV camera and denied deliberately banging his knee to inflict injuries on himself. He claimed that he was actually testing the other paving stones to prevent injury to other people.
Harrison continued to deny any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty at court, so a trial date was set. However, a few weeks before it was due to start, Harrison eventually changed his plea to guilty.
Rob Smart, Head of Claims at the National Insurance and Guarantee Corporation (NIG), said:
“Tackling insurance fraud remains a priority for the industry and we hope that today’s sentencing sends out a strong message to others who may be thinking of committing fraud in the future. It’s very sad to see the lengths that some people will go to make a false claim but we will continue to work closely with the police to ensure these types of claims are exposed. Insurance fraud increases the premiums for honest customers and costs the industry millions of pounds a year”.