A mother who forced her children to undergo needless medical procedures to claim thousands in benefits has been sentenced to seven and a half years in jail.sad boy2The 49-year-old, from Croydon, South London, repeatedly lied to medical professionals, allowing her to claim more than £375,000 over a 10-year period. In what has been described as a “staggering” case of child cruelty, her son and daughter were forced to take unnecessary drugs and go through invasive treatment, including having tubes fitted in their stomachs.

Both children had surgery to fit them with gastrostomy tubes for feeding, despite being able to eat normally, after the woman told authorities they had stomach problems. The boy was given steroids after she claimed he suffered breathlessness and was told to behave as though he had autism. He was also kept in nappies until he was taken into care, aged seven-and-a-half.

The woman was arrested in 2013 following a three-year investigation, Croydon Crown Court was told. Sentencing the woman, who can not be named to protect her children’s identity, Judge Elizabeth Smaller said she had shown no remorse. “I note that you have appeared to be very sad at times during this trial – but, watching you as I have for three months in court, in my view, it cannot be said to amount to remorse for what you did,” Judge Smaller said.

Commenting on the case, an NSPCC spokeswoman said: “This is an incredibly distressing case. For a mother to subject her own children to invasive medical procedures for no reason other than her own financial gain is shocking and difficult to comprehend.”