A SOMALI mother-of-five avoided prison this afternoon despite admitting she made up a story about being kidnapped by her ex-husband in order to get a new house.

Yurup Ismael, of College Hill Road, Harrow Weald, lied to officers to secure a move for her and her children but was found to be lying when it emerged her ex-husband was in jail for other offences at the time of the allegation.

Police investigated the claim, spending around £20,000 of taxpayers' cash, before arresting the Dutch national for perverting the course of justice.

It emerged during her sentencing at Harrow Crown Court on Friday (July 16) that the council, fearing for her safety, moved her family after she convinced her 16-year-old son to corroborate the lies.

The move saw her and her children relocated to a 'better house' but it was agreed that while she did benefit from the switch she had not intended to receive financial gain.

The 48-year-old, who needed an intrepreter in court, was given an eight month prison term but the sentence was suspended for 12 months because she is the sole carer of her children.

During sentencing Dipan Varsani, prosecuting, read a statement from Ismael which read: "I admit that I made a false allegation of kidnap to the police in respect to my ex-husband.

"I heard from people in my community that his family had been making threats against me and was in the area to take the children away.

"My husband was very violent towards me during our marriage and I made the allegation because I was scared he was going to come and hurt me.

"I did this with the intention of being moved by the council because I was scared he and his family would come to the home that I lived in for six years.

"I did not lie with the intention of getting a bigger property but I accept that did benefit from the move in that the new property is better."

Ismael pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud by false representation.

She was handed an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work.

Speaking after the sentencing councillor Bob Currie, portfolio holder for housing on Harrow Council, said: "This was a shocking attempt to jump the housing queue and it’s proved very costly.

"The Council’s housing department was in the process of helping her family move to a more suitable home.

"She wasted around £20,000 of public money on the police investigation and it took a home away from a family in real need and that is something we simply will not allow when there are so many genuine people patiently waiting for an affordable home."