Menu

InstagramTwitterYouTubeFacebookSnapchat
Globe Icon
Join use PFWSAVE30 for 30% off!

Join

and support
LGBT+ journalism

Community

Brighton drag queen Betty Swollocks convicted of benefit fraud

August 30, 2013

A drag queen performer in Brighton has been convicted of benefit fraud totalling around £6,000.

Appearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 62-year-old John Townsend, who uses the stage name Betty Swollocks, admitted four counts of benefit fraud between November 2007 and September 2011.

He did not attend court as his alter-ego but instead wore a sober pinstripe black suit, yellow tie and black shoes.

Townsend had told Brighton and Hove City Council that he was unemployed whilst performing at gay venues in Brighton’s Kemptown area – and also claiming housing and council tax benefits.

Len Batten, prosecuting on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council, said Townsend “demonstrated a reasonable understanding of the benefit system”.

He added: “He said he did work as Betty Swollocks at the Queen’s Arms.”

However, Townsend’s defence lawyer claimed he was “not aware” he was committing a crime by working as Betty.

Jenna Threadgold, defending, said: “The work was sporadic at £25 a night, not a substantial amount of money.

“He was homeless living in a hostel. He is extremely remorseful.”

Townsend was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, pay £500 costs and will have the amount he illegally claimed deducted from his benefits.

Townsend, who has had a double hip replacement and suffers from a heart murmur, is still working as a drag queen in Brighton.

More: benefit fraud, Brighton, brighton and hove, Crime, draq act, draq queen, England, gay bar, gay bars, gay club, gay clubs, gay venue, gay venues, Kemptown

Click to comment

Swipe sideways to view more posts!

Dismiss

Loading ...

Close icon