A benefits cheat who faked breast cancer to escape a jail-term was freed on Monday in a reluctant 'act of mercy' by Appeal Court judges.
Christine Areh, who lived in Stag Lane, Stanmore, was originally jailed for 15 months at Harrow Crown Court in May, after confessing to four counts of submitting false statements to secure benefits.
But earlier this week The Old Bailey substituted the 59-year-old's sentence with a community rehabilitation order - because her severely autistic daughter is said to be profoundly affected by her mother's absence.
Mrs Justice Dobbs, sitting with Lord Justice Hughes and Judge Michael Pert QC, said Areh's sentence was well-deserved, given the 'continuous deceit' involved, but Lord Justice Hughes told her: "The only reason you are coming out is due to the effect on your daughter. This is merely an act of mercy."
The result means Areh will now, under the terms of the new order, have to regularly attend a probation centre and undergo a prescribed course of treatment.
The news will come as a blow to Harrow Council officers who established Areh had swindled more than £50,000 in council tax and rent benefits over the course of more than four years.
She claimed the benefits by insisting she rented the property in Stag Lane, however, it was later found that she co-owned the house with partner Samuel Nwangoro.
When the council brought legal action, Areh failed to turn up to court and claimed she could not attend because she was being treated in America for breast cancer.
But when investigators contacted stunned physicians in Dallas they said they had never heard of her.
Areh also claimed she was suffering from a crippling depression, but the crown court judge concluded she was fit to stand trial after examination by three doctors.
Subsequently she pleaded guilty and was ordered to 15 months in jail.
A Harrow Council spokesman said they were not commenting on the result.