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Paula Carlton: The £100,000 benefit fraudster living with Duke of Wellington's descendant

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  • Paula Carlton claimed £107,705 over a 10 year period
  • Her aristocratic partner Richard Wellesley has paid back her benefits bill
  • She was living with Wellington's great-great-great-great grand nephew
  • Mother claimed Richard Wellesley was her landlord but he is her lover

By David Wilkes and Luke Salkeld

PUBLISHED: 08:41 EST, 7 December 2012 | UPDATED: 08:44 EST, 7 December 2012

A wealthy descendent of the Duke of Wellington saved his lover from prison today - by paying back the £100,000 of benefits she fiddled using money from his own trust fund.

Cheating Paula Carton, 49, illegally claimed £100,000 of benefits as a single mother while she was in a relationship with aristocrat Richard Wellesley.

Carton faced a prison sentence unless her aristocratic lover could pay back the benefits bill - which he did after securing an advance from his trust fund, held by the Queen's bankers Coutts.

A court heard Mr Wellesley, 39, picks up £30,000-a-year from trust funds set up for descendants of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington.

Paula Carton cheated the taxpayer of more than £100,000 in housing benefits while living with Richard Wellesley, a descendant of the Duke of Wellington

The home in Pontypool, South Wales, where Carton lived with Mr Wellesley throughout the 10 years she committed the fraud

The home in Pontypool, South Wales, where Carton lived with Mr Wellesley throughout the 10 years she committed the fraud

Carton was let off an immediate jail sentence - after Mr Wellesley promised a judge he would pay back every penny she cheated from the taxpayer.

Mr Wellesley was true to his word - and paid the money over before Carton was due back in court yesterday.

The court heard he secured an advance on his trust fund held by Coutts, the Queen's bankers, to pay back what she had taken.

He can trace his ancestry back to the Duke of Wellington, has a handsome trust fund and owns a portfolio of properties.

She has far humbler origins, eight children from a disastrous marriage, and is ten years his senior.

But Richard Wellesley, a great-great-great-great nephew of the famous Iron Duke, and Paula Carton became unlikely lovers, had two children – the first when he was 17 – and set up home together.

Luxury: Paula Carton claimed she lived alone at their home in Pontypool, South Wales, pictured centre

Luxury: Paula Carton claimed she lived alone at their home in Pontypool, South Wales, pictured centre

Carton's fraud and their surprising relationship were laid bare in court when Carton, 49, pictured was spared jail as Mr Wellesley, 39, promised a judge he would pay back every penny she had cheated from the taxpayer

Carton's fraud and their surprising relationship were laid bare in court when Carton, 49, pictured was spared jail as Mr Wellesley, 39, promised a judge he would pay back every penny she had cheated from the taxpayer

Posing as a single mother, she claimed £107,705 in housing benefits and income support over ten years while they shared a £250,000 detached Victorian house bought for them by his mother.

Her fraud and their surprising relationship were laid bare in court when Carton, 49, was spared jail as Mr Wellesley, 39, promised a judge he would pay back every penny she had cheated from the taxpayer.

He receives £38,400 a year from trust funds set up for descendants of Arthur Wellesley, the original Duke of Wellington, who became a hero after defeating Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, set up a trust fund for his descendants including Richard Wellesley, his brother's great-great-great grandson

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, set up a trust fund for his descendants including Richard Wellesley, his brother's great-great-great grandson

Mr Wellesley’s great-great-great grandfather was a brother of the duke.

Carton, who appeared at Cardiff Crown Court walking with the aid of a crutch, had pretended Mr Wellesley was her landlord and she paid rent to him.

Council investigators became suspicious because utility and Sky TV subscription bills were in his name at their address in the village of Abersychan, near Pontypool, South Wales.

Gareth James, prosecuting, said: 'After she was investigated by fraud officers she admitted, "He is a little more than a landlord".'

He added that she would not have been entitled to any of the money because of Mr Wellesley’s lineage and wealth. The court heard Carton had a difficult life after being abandoned by her mother to be brought up in an Irish convent.

At 16 she married a man of 49 with whom she had an abusive relationship, eight children and two miscarriages.

She formed a relationship with Mr Wellesley when she was living on a farm in Ireland owned by his mother. In 1995, Mr Wellesley began to study at Aberystwyth University and she and her children followed him to Wales.

She went on to receive income support of £54,817 and housing benefit of £52,888 by claiming she was a ‘lone parent living with ten children’.

Carton had pretended Mr Wellesley was her landlord of the big property, pictured, and she paid rent to him

Carton had pretended Mr Wellesley was her landlord of the big property, pictured, and she paid rent to him

Lavish: An aerial view of the large house where Carton lived with her partner Richard Wellesley

Lavish: An aerial view of the large house where Carton lived with her partner Richard Wellesley

Richard Wellesley is the great-great-great grandson of Baron Cowley, Henry Wellesley, pictured here with Lord Clarendon

Richard Wellesley is the great-great-great grandson of Baron Cowley, Henry Wellesley, pictured here with Lord Clarendon

Andrew Gregg, defending, said: ‘She found it difficult to define her relationship with Mr Wellesley and that is why she began claiming these benefits.’

Carton has ‘physical conditions and depression’ and is awaiting an operation on her back, he added.

After leaving university Mr Wellesley earned meagre wages working at a builders’ merchant and did not receive money from the trust funds until the death of his mother three years ago, Mr Gregg said.

Carton, whose children are aged between 32 and 19, admitted four charges of benefit fraud.

The court heard Mr Wellesley owns at least three houses, taking £1,800-a-month rent from one property in Bristol.

He is paid £700 a month from one trust fund and £7,500 a quarter from another.

He gave an undertaking under oath from the witness box that the cash advance on his trust fund would be used to repay taxpayers.

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