Comic’s widow in fraud probe

THE LYTHAM widow of TV comedy legend Les Dawson is being investigated for alleged benefit fraud.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2010, 4:34 pm

Tracy Dawson has reportedly already undergone one formal interview with investigators from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The anti-fraud team is also believed to have interviewed her partner, insurance broker John Chadwick – chairman of Blackpool Panthers Rugby League team.

It is reported the probe centres on whether Mrs Dawson, who was married to comedian Les for four years before his death 17 years ago, had falsely claimed a widow’s allowance and failing to disclose she was living with Mr Chadwick at her Islay Road home, which is now believed to be up for sale.

When contacted Mrs Dawson, who had one child, teenage daughter Charlotte with Les, declined to comment.

However, in one national newspaper, she was reported as stating: “I’m not a benefits cheat. I’ve not been claiming widow’s allowance. I’ve not been claiming anything.”

Both Mrs Dawson and Mr Chadwick are now said to be be awaiting the decision of the DWP.

Mr Chadwick said: “This is a sad time for both of us. It has been hanging over us for a long time now and we hope matters can be drawn to a swift end now. Tracy is obviously upset as she pays all her own bills, all her own Council Tax and matters like that. What they are saying is we did not disclose we were living together, as it were, man and wife. We have both been interviewed once and have taken legal advice.”

A spokesman for the DWP said: “It’s not policy to divulge the names of people we may be investigating.”

Mrs Dawson has lived in the five bedroom mansion, “The Bumbles”, which carries a blue plaque in honour of the comedian, for over 20 years. But she will not gain from any profit from the £1.3 million deal which is currently going through. Les died in 1993 and his will allows Tracy to remain in the house until she dies. Under the terms of his estate she is allowed to move to a new property but the executors of the estate retain any profit in trust.