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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Wife Swap star 'gave to charity'
Lizzie Bardsley
Ms Bardsley was paid 37,500 in benefits before the programme
Reality TV star Lizzy Bardsley has denied falsely receiving almost 5,000 in benefits, claiming she gave the cash from media work to a charity.

The mother-of-eight was paid 37,500 in benefits while also receiving money for media work, Rochdale magistrates heard.

Mrs Bardsley, 32, who appeared in the first series of Wife Swap, is accused of being overpaid 4,879.87.

She has denied failing to declare money earned from magazine interviews and an appearance on the Kilroy chat show.

Mrs Bardlsey, of Hursthead Road, Milnrow, Rochdale, pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing to failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change which she knew would affect her benefits.

'Public purse'

The court was told Heat magazine paid 1,000 for an interview, of which 500 was donated to the foundation to study infant deaths.

Her sister Jenny Hallisey received the other half of the fee, as well as 300 from magazine Closer and 2,000 for topless photos of Mrs Bardsley in the Sunday Sport.

A 150 payment for Mrs Bardsley's appearance on Kilroy was also given to the cot death charity.

Vincent Carr, prosecuting, said 1,030 paid out by RDS Media on behalf of the Wife Swap programme makers included a 500 fee and 530 expenses.

He told the court: "It is all very well saying this money was paid to charitable organisations - and certainly some of it was - the department's view is while that is commendable, that behaviour is not really appropriate considering she was getting subsidies from the public purse."

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Mrs Bardsley said she had not taken part in the Wife Swap programme for financial gain.

Off benefits

"I didn't see it as being work when the filming was being done. It was just an experience we were entering into," she told Rochdale magistrates.

Mrs Bardsley said any money from media interviews had been given to her sister, who had supported the family during their media exposure.

"The repayments were to try and ease her burden in the way that she had tried to ease ours," she said.

The court heard that Mrs Bardsley had come off benefits in January 2004 and now earned an income from newspaper and television interviews.

The hearing was adjourned until 27 September when magistrates are expected to deliver a verdict.

'Wife Swap' star's benefit charge
16 Nov 04 |  Manchester

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