‘Whiplash’ insurance cheat ‘who couldn’t exercise’ climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge

A woman who “exaggerated” the severity of her whiplash injury after being involved in a minor car accident has been handed a suspended sentence after the insurers handling her claim found dramatic evidence of her deception on Facebook.

Lois Cartridge – who herself works in the insurance industry – was handed a suspended jail term and hit with a £20,000 legal bill after investigators for Liverpool Victoria, the insurer of the other motorist involved in her 2018 accident, found posts detailing her extreme sports activities.

Cartridge told a doctor who examined her about six months after the accident that she was still in such pain from her injuries that that she was unable to do even light exercise.

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Cartridge claimed that the “tenderness” and “restricted movement” in her back and neck that she was suffering prevented her from exercising and even ironing.

But Paul Higgins, the lawyer representing Liverpool Victoria, told the High Court that on the same day Cartridge told a doctor she was still in pain she had posted on Facebook: “We completed the 5k inflatable run this morning… and I can now say I’m never doing anything like that again.”

A series of posts a few days later detailed a trip to Australia, during which Cartridge, 24, from Bournemouth, climbed the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Mr Higgins told the court that it was “not possible to reconcile” Cartridge’s claim that her injury prevented her from walking and training in the gym “with an ability to complete a 5km run involving a number of obstacles”.

Andrew McKie, representing Cartridge, pleaded for leniency and said that she was likely to lose her job because of her dishonesty.

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“She has apologised to the court and does so again,” he said, adding: “She is deeply remorseful that this has happened, it is her first offence, she is young and this episode has had a deep impact on her emotional, financial and professional wellbeing.”

After hearing all the evidence, the judge described Cartridge’s offence as “exaggeration, not invention”.

But, he stressed: “I do not wish to give out the message that simply because somebody is of good character and in employment they can expect to get away with it.”

Cartridge has now admitted that she exaggerated her symptoms and has been handed a suspended 16-week jail sentence, as well as ordered to pay £20,000 in legal costs.

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