How the other half live – royal cousin facing prison sentence for benefit fraud


Here at Hylton Potts, we have worked with clients from all walks of life and a variety of backgrounds. When we assist someone who has been accused – rightly or wrongly – of benefit fraud, they often feel somewhat embarrassed.

It’s an understandable enough emotion, and to be honest, some people do not seem entirely convinced when we tell them that it is something that can happen to anyone. The following story proves that it really can, and we are not just saying that to make you feel more at ease!

Dru Edmonstone, a second cousin of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has been remanded in custody and faces a custodial sentence for committing benefit fraud.

Who is Dru Edmonstone?

The gentleman in question has the same great-grandmother as Camilla – one Alice Keppel, who was a long-time mistress of King Edward VII in the early 1900s. While the relationship with the Windsors might not be a close one, he is no mere distant relatives fallen on hard times. The 46 year old is the son of Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, and lives on a 6,000 acre estate in Stirlingshire that was gifted to his family in the 15th century by King Robert III.

What did he do?

Edmonstone has been found guilty of running a sophisticated series of scams against the state, Kensington & Chelsea council and Stirling council. He used the names of various individuals, including his sister, his ex-wife and former household staff to submit fraudulent claims for a wide variety of benefits.

These included income support, disability living allowance, tax credits and a carer’s allowance. In addition, he fraudulently obtained thousands in housing benefit, including funds gained by renting an upscale mews cottage in Kensingston. Stirling Sheriff Court heard that between January 2014 and April 2017, he fraudulently obtained around £60,000, spending the money on high-risk spread-betting.

His activities came to light when his sister became suspicious after attempting to make additional payments into her national insurance account. Elyssa Edmonstone has lived overseas for the past eight years, and when she made contact with the Department for Work and Pensions, she discovered that the address held on file for her was her brother’s home, somewhere she had never lived. When she confronted her brother, he admitted he had been submitting claims using her name and NI number.

Defending lawyer John Mulholland, said that Edmonstone had been diagnosed by medical professionals to have a personality disorder, and described his behaviour as “bizarre.”

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told Edmonstone that in view of the significant financial figure, a custodial sentence will be inevitable when he is sentenced on 21 February.

It really can happen to anyone

If you are struggling to stifle a smile at the thought of a member of the landed gentry facing the full force of the DWP, that’s OK, you are only human. The point I really wanted to make is that all sorts of people find themselves on the wrong side of these kinds of fraud charges for all kinds of reasons.

The courts might be there to judge, but at Hylton Potts, we are most definitely not. So if you are under investigation or have been accused of fraud, you really have no reason to feel shy or embarrassed about getting in touch.

Our friendly team of experts are always on hand, and will be happy to look into your specific circumstances, and help you through whatever difficulty you are facing. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 020 7381 8111, or get in touch via email at law@hylton-potts.com.

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