Saturday, March 23, 2013

The 'single' mother-of-six on benefits, the £2.5million Belgravia mansion she wants you to pay for... And the mystery of her VERY elusive fashion boss husband

Stephanie Demouh, originally from west Africa, lived in the four bedroom house in Belgravia, near Sloane Square, for about three years with her family. She was moved after a cap on housing benefit. Pictured left is her former home, and (right) Belgravia.

In the real world, you would have to earn nearly £250,000 a year to qualify for a mortgage with the same eye-watering monthly repayments. But this story is not about the real world, where most of us live, otherwise you would not be reading about the case of Stephanie Demouh.

The magnificent townhouse I've described was her home for three years until she was recently forced to move out and downsize to more modest surroundings in Edgware, North London.

Did she lose a highly paid job? No, Miss Demouh, 38, a mother of six, didn't have a job in the first place. She is a student at Westminster University. Was her husband made redundant, perhaps? No, again. Apparently, the couple were living apart anyway. Might she have lost a family inheritance on the stock market, then? Definitely not.

By now, you must be wondering how Miss Demouh, who is British but was born in Togo, West Africa, could ever afford to live in Belgravia. The answer is, she couldn't.

Miss Demouh was a beneficiary of the controversial benefits gravy train known as the Local Housing Allowance, which allowed people to rent from private landlords and hand the bill to the state.