I'm No Benefits Cheat Says Dawson's Widow

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Sims and Nick Fagge

THE widow of television comedian Les Dawson has been questioned over an alleged five-figure benefits fraud, it was revealed yesterday.

Tracy Dawson, 60, was interviewed along with her long-term partner, John Chadwick, about payments which date back over the last decade.

Mrs Dawson, who was married to the comedian for four years before his death in 1993, was questioned about whether she had falsely claimed a widow's allowance while living with her new partner.

Mr Chadwick, 62, a former insurance broker, is being investigated over income support payments made to him during the same period.

The probe centres on claims that the couple failed to inform the Department for Work and Pensions that they were living together.

Had they done so their payments would either have been stopped or drastically reduced, based on the fact that their income was joined.

Last night Mrs Dawson denied the claims. 'I am not a benefits cheat,' she told the Daily Mail.

'I have not been claiming widow's allowance. I have not been claiming anything.'

Mrs Dawson, who was left the bulk of the comic's [pounds sterling]1.4million estate when he died of a heart attack aged 62, has already sat through one formal interview with investigators.

Twice-married Mr Chadwick, the chairman of Blackpool Panthers Rugby League club, said: 'This is a sad time for both of us. …