Former cage fighter Alex Reid has been jailed for contempt of court after he lied in a witness statement for a compensation claim following a car crash.
Reid made a claim for around £20,000 after the Audi he was driving collided with another vehicle in January 2018, the High Court heard.
At the time, he made a statement claiming he did not know motorbike rider Darren Summers, who it was claimed had witnessed the crash.
However, it was later revealed that Reid had previously attended a mixed martial arts (MMA) charity event organised by Mr Summers.
Axa Insurance UK, the company insuring the other driver involved in the crash, discovered an article on a local news website about Reid’s appearance at the MMA masterclass in Ipswich just four months before the incident.
The company described his actions as a “plain, deliberate and dishonest attempt to interfere with the administration of justice in a material way”.
Axa initiated High Court committal proceedings against him in January this year and Reid, 45, admitted contempt of court.
Mrs Justice Eady sentenced Reid to eight weeks in prison for the offence.
She said he will serve half of his sentence in prison and the remaining half on licence following his release.
Reid’s fiancee is six months’ pregnant and he has recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, the hearing heard in mitigation put forward on his behalf.
However, the judge said that only a custodial term would reflect the serious nature of his dishonesty.
The court heard that Reid and the other driver blamed each other for the collision on January 29, 2018.
Reid discontinued his county court compensation claim when Axa raised the allegation of dishonesty as part of the defence, the court heard.
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Tim Sharpe, representing Axa, said the news article about the MMA masterclass made it clear Reid knew Mr Summers and that they were “more than passing acquaintances”.
He said Reid falsely represented that Mr Summers was an independent witness to the collision in his statement, adding that it was “no mere slip”.
Mr Sharpe added that such fraudulent claims have an impact on honest people, as they result in higher insurance premiums and delays in investigating genuine claims.
He drew the judge’s attention to evidence from the Association of British Insurers which suggested that in 2018 there were 55,000 dishonest motor insurance claims detected, worth £629 million in total.
The court heard that, in light of Reid’s admission of contempt, Axa considered it was no longer in the public interest to bring similar proceedings against Mr Summers and withdrew the case.
Gary Pons, representing Reid, highlighted the impact a term of imprisonment would have on members of his family who rely on him for support, including his fiancee Nicola Manashe who is six months pregnant with his child.
He told the judge that Reid had been described as a “kind, caring and loving man” and pointed to his charity work, arguing that any custodial sentence should be suspended.
However, the judge said she had taken into account all that was said in mitigation on Reid’s behalf, but that it was in the interests of justice to impose an immediate sentence.