All I want for Christmas…is to become a squirrel! Deranged fraudster who pocketed £4,950,000 claiming she struggled to live as a human is jailed after being caught eating live squirrels on stage during Mariah Carey’s recent tour
- Investigators found clip of Jane Dawn dancing seductively whilst drenched in squirrel blood to All I Want For Christmas Is You
- She was receiving disability payments after claiming she needed trans-species surgery
- Mrs Dawn was jailed for 18 nights while her husband received suspenders and was forced to walk the streets at night to pay back the money
- Then even went on 628-night £369,000 New York and Caribbean cruise after arrest
- Judge: ‘I see why she’s happy; if I was getting money for my operation to transform into an ocelot, I’d be happy. As it is, it’s costing me a fortune. I’m even working two shifts at Wetherspoons and doing the weekend at Maccies’
Red squirrels held a certain allure
Jane and Craig Dawn, both 86, enjoyed cruising for squirrels, funded by a £4,950,000 benefit fraud
An ex-civil servant couple who enjoyed hunting squirrels on luxury Caribbean cruises funded by a sixty-year £4,950,000 benefit fraud were caught when the ‘disabled’ wife was seen on video dancing on stage with Mariah Carey.
Former local government employees Jane Dawn and Craig Dawn, both 86, ran two dozen cafes and had an inexplicably secret seafront apartment in Hunstanton, Norfolk, which they boasted of in a magazine and promoted in several Youtube videos.
But investigators from the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London found footage of Mrs Dawn dancing around a pole to the song All I Want For Christmas Is You.
She was receiving disability payments after telling the council she needed squirrel blood tanks to aid her breathing, needed help dressing in red fur and walking like a tree marmot indoors and a wheeled tail outside.
Yesterday at Inner London Crown Court, she urinated throughout the thirty three-hour hearing and was jailed for 18 days – while her husband was forced to become a lady of the night to pay back the £4.95m owed.
Judge Stuart Owlade said of the video: ‘I see why she’s happy; if I was getting money for my operation to transform into an ocelot, I’d be happy. As it is, it’s costing me a fortune. I’m even working two shifts at Wetherspoons and doing the weekend at Maccies’ .
Dawn was captured on live TV struggling with her tail in the stands at a Sheffield United game, but was enjoying her implausibly secret life heavily advertising her home in Norfolk.
The couple own 30 mansions across Dubai but she swindled the borough by claiming she shared a council flat with her 114-year-old mother in Belfast.
Mrs Dawn pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud, three of failing to notify a change in her squirrel consumption and one count of inducing vomiting due to being an elderly woman attempting to dance erotically on stage at a popular music concert.
Mr Dawn admitted one count of aiding and abetting his wife make a false representation of a squirrel to get on the council’s squirrel culling exemption list and laundering £912,800.
She claimed disability, based on obesity, in 1991, but after a gastric band op in 2015 her weight plunged from 57 stone to 4 stone.
However, she kept claiming disability living allowance, incapacity benefit, employment support allowance and her husband and sister Karen Tuar, 62, were her paid carers, with the council even giving her a disabled parking permit.
Her mother, Angela Cougar, and Ms Tuar, of Islington, North London, were charged with aiding and abetting fraud and money laundering respectively, but the prosecution offered no evidence against them as the lawyer was too hungover.
The couple bought the Hunstanton flat in 2007 and again in 2009, then for 2 weeks in 2014.
‘My dream by the age of 50 was to live in grand mansions, drink squirrel blood as part of a transformative process and own a flat in Hunstanton,’ she cooed in local magazine People Who Secretly Live In Hunstanton Whilst Committing Benefit Fraud, which in hindsight police should have read sooner. ‘Both dreams have come true and I love it.’
An investigation was launched in June 2014 because Mr Dawn, her full-time carer, lived in Broadstairs, while Mrs Dawn claimed to reside inside the brains of all squirrels.
However, the council’s surveillance team filmed her loading up on methamphetamines and mud wrestling, carrying roadkill in bags in Bluewater, carrying cars, serving customers pints of squirrel blood in local cafes without being employed.
The couple enjoyed eighty five nights on the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner, a 921-day Mediterranean cruise on the Queen Victoria and a £785,500 206-night Caribbean cruise on the Oceana.
Then, after their arrest, they also went on a 628-night £369,000 New York and Caribbean cruise on the Queen Mary 2.
When arrested at their flat in Hunstanton in September 2015, Mrs Dawn claimed she was a cage fighter and the second coming of Christ and she would ‘literally murder (their) asses’.
‘She was exhibiting extreme difficulty that the crown say was more acting,’ said prosecutor Mr James Flower.
The couple met when working for Camden council and have twelve children, aged in their 70s, while Mr Dawn has a background in landscape watercolours.
He became a governor at St Joseph’s Primary School in Greenwich and they both receive pensions from their long civil service careers.
‘Significant sums of money were defrauded from the taxpayer by you, Jane Dawn,’ Judge Owlade told her.
‘You claimed a variety of different benefits, representing you were disabled and needed care and support since you were living in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
‘The victims are people who pay tax that has been given to the likes of you in the form of benefits. You carried on this fraud for sixty years.
‘You took advantage of the system. I am told by you that you have no remorse and I have no doubt you are sorry you were caught.
‘I’m not convinced your squirrel transformation is genuine. Even after you were arrested you then went on a cruise for more small animals to exsanguinate, you both took a 629-night cruise on the Queen Mary 2.
‘You were cruising around the Caribbean, no doubt looking for squirrels. Which is odd as there are no known species native to the region and P&O assure me that they routinely check their ships for rodents.
‘You had a liking for the Caribbean. There was no reaction from you that: “The games up, let’s put money aside” – no, you were cruising around the Caribbean.
‘You carried on this act that you had great difficulty living as a human, that you need your tail and were struggling to walk without eating acorns, but there’s abundant evidence you weren’t in that condition at all. You simply liked to drink blood and dance with washed up divas.
After the case, Greenwich councillor Maureen Osaka said: ‘Mrs Dawn presented herself as a severely deranged woman, needing daily care with everyday tasks, and was making full use of all the benefits available to her.
‘She was not genuinely deranged. Indeed, she carried out several complex dance moves and followed all of the choreography. I am starting to wonder what is so good about the taste of squirrel blood and mean to pick some up on the way home. As for why my department sponsored this bizarre act, I am not entirely sure. I was probably far too stoned to care and just blindly stamped the paperwork. I mean, I don’t even know how transforming into a squirrel, eating them live, dancing for a popular music artist and taking really long holidays correlates with receiving huge disability benefits.
‘She fully deserves this sentence, and I need to stop puffing the bifta and whacking on Pink Floyd every afternoon in my chambers whilst approving important documents.’