the life of his wife and children' by obtaining£18,000 in three years from creating fictitious claimants for housing benefit has lost his second bid to appeal against his 18-month prison sentence.
Sean Michael Smith, 29, was jailed on May 22 at Bristol crown court after admitting two offences of obtaining property by deception and one of false accounting and asking for eight similar offences to be taken into consideration.
Mr Justice Hughes, sitting with Lord Justice Rose and Mr
yesterday: 'His renewed application for leave to appeal against sentence is refused.
'Despite the very sad family tragedy in the background there
is no basis for saying it is arguable that the sentence was manifestly
He said Smith, who had no previous convictions, committed the
frauds in the course of his work as a Bristol City Council housing
Part of his job was to administer housing benefit and from
June 1994 until August 1997 he defrauded the council by creating
fictitious claimants for such benefit and diverting the money into
building society accounts he controlled.
He obtained just over£18,000.
When discovered he co-operated with police and explained what
he had done.
Mr Justice Hughes said there was 'a very sad family tragedy'
in the background.
The first son of Smith and his wife died from an undiagnosed
and very rare chromosomal disease when nearly four in July 1991.
When the cause of death was diagnosed they were told there was
a one-in-four possibility that any later child might be similarly
But a second son born in July 1994 and a daughter born the
following year were confirmed free of the disease.
The frauds began soon after the birth and clear diagnosis of
the second son.
Smith told police that when the boy was born healthy he
decided to give him everything he could.
He told a psychiatrist that he persuaded himself that it had
not been fair that they had had such a hard time and that it would
have been easier if their finances had not been so tight.
Between arrest and sentence he became significantly depressed.
His counsel, Stephen Mooney, told the appeal court: 'Smith
tried to better the life of his wife and children.
'Police found more toys at his house than in any they had
visited - that was one way the money was spent.
'It was also spent on a kitchen, and on a car so his wife and
children could be taken out to the country for lunch on Sunday'.