Dodgy landlord beat up Stepney tenant after £40,000 rent scam unravelled

A benefit cheat was jailed for two and a half years today after illegally sub-letting his Stepney flat and beating the occupant unconscious when he realised he was being investigated.

Mark Naughton pocketed £40,961 in housing and council tax benefits during the five-year scam, while raking in rent on his flat in West India Dock Road.

He pleaded guilty to assault by actual bodily harm and admitted five counts of fraud by making a false declaration and two of failing to notify of a change of circumstances.

But Snaresbrook Crown Court heard the 41-year-old was allowed to carry on claiming his jobseeksers allowance, which he’s been using to pay back some of what he owes, at a rate of £20 per week.

Naughton, of Milligan Street, Limehouse, had been renting out his flat to various tenants since 2006.

He went to the property to try to force his tenant to leave last September after learning he was under investigation, and attacked her partner, Dougan Sivri, when he realised the couple was refusing to move out.

Mr Sivri, who was beaten unconscious, suffered a fractured wrist, black eyes, and needed stitches to his lip.

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Judge Korner jailed Naughton 18 months for seven counts of benefit fraud and 12 months for assault.

She said the case was aggravated by the violence against Mr Sivri, and added: “Benefit fraud carried on as you did over a lengthy period of time is not a victimless crime.

“People like you, who defraud the Department for Work Pensions and the local authorities of money, are thereby making it impossible for other people who deserve and actually need it to obtain it.”