Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 17:54 UK

Scarlett mother Fiona MacKeown sentenced for fraud

Fiona McKeown
MacKeown is expected to give evidence in the Goan death trial

The mother of Devon teenager Scarlett Keeling, who was killed on a beach in India, has been given an eight-month suspended jail term for benefit fraud.

At Exeter Crown Court, Fiona MacKeown, 44, of Meddon, Devon, was also ordered to do 150 hours of community work.

She admitted falsely claiming £19,000 of income support between February 2005 and March 2008.

The period included the time when 15-year-old Scarlett was raped and killed on a family holiday to Goa.

The jail term was suspended for two years.

Speaking outside the court after sentencing, MacKeown told BBC News: "I didn't think it was such a big deal - obviously it is.

"Maybe other people will learn from this to be a bit more careful."

Two men are currently on trial in India accused of killing and assaulting Scarlett.

Scarlett Keeling
Two men are currently on trial for killing 15-year-old Scarlett

The teenager's body was found on Anjuna beach in February 2008.

Samson D'Souza, 28, and 36-year-old Placido Carvalho, are accused of culpable homicide, grievous sexual assault and destroying evidence.

They are also charged with assault with criminal force with intent to outrage a woman's modesty and administering drugs with intent to harm.

On the day the trial started at the Children's Court in Goa last month, MacKeown admitted benefit fraud at Exeter Crown Court.

The trial of Mr D'Souza and Mr Carvalho is expected to last for up to a year, but MacKeown is due to give evidence at some point.

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