Ex Maiden singer announces “extended vacation” to fans after he gets nine months for owning up to £45,000 incapacity swindle

Paul Di'Anno

Jailed: Paul Di'Anno

Former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno has been jailed for nine months after admitting he falsely claimed £45,479 in incapacity benefit.

He’ll spend at least four and a half months behind bars before being eligible for conditional bail.

Di’Anno, 52, real name Paul Andrews, was last month found guilty of claiming money in a total of eight offences committed between 2002 and 2008, and told at the time to expect a custodial sentence. He was found out when investigators saw video clips of him leaping around during stage shows, at a time when he’d said nerve damage meant he couldn’t work.

At Salisbury Crown Court the singer’s defence representative, Steven Ritter, said: “Mr Andrews is very naive in terms of business matters and has no formal education. All he cares about it the welfare of his wife and son in America and his daughter in Venezuela.

“He sought money he was owed but lawyers and agents would take it – he got very little from all his touring. He wanted a comeback but he realised it was not like coming back and being Frank Sinatra.

“He has lost a fortune several times. His last $40,000 was given to a previous girlfriend in America. He does not care what happens to him, only his wife and children.”

Passing sentence, Jane Miller QC said: “Your public persona is not relevant. Your greed has cost this country a lot of money.

“In 2002 you started claiming benefits when it was quite clear you were already working. In 2007 and you performed at 69 venues and in 2006 you performed 67 times. I do not accept you only got expenses.

“I give you credit for your guilty pleas, and reduce the sentence from 12 months to nine months.”

Di’Anno sent a brief message to his fans via his Facebook page, saying: “As many of you may know, things have to be put on hold for a while now, while I take an extended ‘vacation’. There will be updates from time to time, and your questions will be answered when possible. See you all again in a few months. All The Best.”

A confiscation hearing will be held on June 4 to establish how he’ll repay the money he took.

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