Jailhouse Rock: Iron Maiden star behind heavy metal bars for benefit fraud

March 11, 2011 | by | 11 Comments

The former lead singer of iconic rock band Iron Maiden was jailed today after he was exposed as a benefit cheat by posting his music videos – on YouTube.

Jailhouse Rock - Iron Maiden lead singer banged up for benefit fraud

Heavy metal legend Paul Andrews, 52 – known and idolised by millions worldwide as front man Paul Di’Anno – was sentenced to nine months for swindling £45,000 in benefits.

He was told he would serve at least four and a half months of the sentence behind bars before being released on conditional bail.

Andrews, of Salisbury, Wilts., was the energetic frontman of Iron Maiden when they took the world by storm and shot to fame between 1978 and 1981.

The bald, goatee-bearded star was fired by Maiden in 1981 under a cloud of drug-taking allegations he always denied.

Head-banging father-of-two Andrews claimed he suffered severe nerve damage to his back that prevented him from working.

But the rock God, whose former group Iron Maiden had huge hits including ‘Run to the Hills’ and ‘The Number of the Beast’, was still performing on stage and releasing records.

Andrews was caught when Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) investigators spotted a YouTube video of him jumping around on stage during a live show in 2006.

The footage, from his own website and video sharing site YouTube, showed Andrews energetically leaping around.

He admitted the eight counts of benefit fraud at Salisbury Crown Court on February 11.

The heavily tattooed rocker, wearing a grey suit and black shirt, admitted illegally claiming benefit totalling £45,479.

HALL OF SHAME: WEIRD CRIME GALLERY

They included wrongly raking in income support of more than £10,000 between 2005 and 2008.

The rock’n’roller, whose autobiography – titled The Beast – bills him as the ”wildest man in rock”, even released fresh material while stashing benefits.

His solo album ‘The Living Dead’ came out in 2006.

He was eventually arrested last year at Heathrow and charged with fraud.

James Newton-Price, prosecuting, told the court Andrew claimed income support, housing benefit and council tax handouts despite touring all over the world between 2002 and 2008.

He said: ”There was no notification of work or trips abroad which the department told him he had to make.

”Instead his touring took him to Europe, India, Brazil, Canada, Russia, and Mexico.

”There is footage on YouTube of over 50 live performances between 2004 and 2007.

”He admitted in an interview at one of his concerts in 2005 that he was living in Brazil for a time and that he played to crowds of 10,000 people.”

Steven Ritter, mitigating, said Andrews’ was very naive and that all he cared for was the welfare of his family, a wife and a son in America and a daughter in Venezuela.

Mr Ritter said: ”He was obsessed with music and performing. He is very naive in terms of business matters and has no formal education.

”He suffered severe injury when he jumped off stage as part of his act in 1998 but carried on performing with agents promising him next month would provide the next big drift of money he was looking for.

Jailhouse Rock - Iron Maiden lead singer banged up for benefit fraud

”He sought the money he was owed but lawyers and agents would take it, he got very little from all his touring.

”He has lost a fortune several times, his last $40,000 was given to a previous girlfriend in America.

”He wanted a comeback but he realised it was not like coming back and being Frank Sinatra.

”He had credibility, a loyal fan base across the world but it was a muddled state as to what he owned.

”He has fallen into a pit of mayhem and has lost practically everything. He does not care what happens to him, only his wife and children.”

Jane Miller QC, sentencing at Salisbury Crown Court today, said Andrews’ public image had nothing to do with the case and he would be treated like anybody else.

She said: ”Your public persona is not relevant. Your greed has cost this country a lot of money. The claims were for a long time and for a large cost. It must be a custodial sentence.

”In 2002 you started claiming benefits when it was quite clear you were already working.

”It took many years to track you down, in 2007 you performed at 69 venues, 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 the guideline 12 months to that of nine months.”

The fallen star, who walked to the hearing with the aid of a walking stick, said nothing as he was sentenced.

A confiscation hearing to settle payments the rocker owes to the DWP will be heard at the court on June 4.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Dark Overlord of Hell says:

    Just look at that face : How could anyone believe he could do such a thing?
    I mean the guy is ‘INNOCENT’ – oh, right, yea – he plead guity.

  2. Purplekrakowboris says:

    Known & idolised by millions? I don’t think so. Iron maiden were huge after Paul Di’Anno, not with him. Sensationalist reporting at it’s worst.

    • Mac says:

      The first two albums (Iron Kaiden & Killers) have sold several million copies (the ones with him singing on them) I’d have said that was fair indication that alot of people were into the band- with him on vocals- at that point and in the 30 years since, and altough the band’s later albums and tours were far more commercially sucessful, the seminal line up was the one that many diehard fans around the world always hark back to.

      • Jon says:

        Yeah, that’s true, Killers is a superb record, and has sold in excess of 600,000 copies, Not to be sniffed at despite DiAnno’s brief career with the band.

  3. Commander Twonko says:

    The first Iron Maiden album is still the best. I saw them play live a few times and he was excellent. Didn’t quite have the voice of the new guy though. I guess that’s why he was replaced.

  4. pete jones says:

    what a joke!yep he’s guilty,but please lets get some logic here,if he was a foreign national,would he be jailed or given a new house?

    • Salsagirl says:

      totally agree makes me sick,i had slovenkians live in a place behind me, they were both working but he claimed tax credits as a single parent, he got nearly 7k put in his bank, withdrew the lot and they have done one back to slovekia….bet the government wouldnt bother to get them back and take them to court, and thats just one case of foreigners ripping off our country, love to know how many are

      • Getajob78 says:

        UK is now a free for all, our city is flooded with unemployed europeans claiming millions in benefits, if you come to the UK you should at least have a job, or the very minimal requirement is to be able to actually speak the language – what a joke.
        I hope the new benefits shake up agenda isn’t an empty threat.

  5. pete jones says:

    what a joke!yep he’s guilty,but please lets get some logic here,if he was a foreign national,would he be jailed or given a new house?

  6. jonobono says:

    Dianno stupidly sold his royalty share from those 2 first albums back to Iron Maiden for 30k. (as his book states)
    To say it took many years to track him down is a joke in this day and age, his solo career has not been a huge success, touring with Iron tribute bands is really sad to see, nevertheless I wish him well.

  7. Killersmaiden says:

    I’m Running Free yeah, I’m Running Free, oh no you’re not.

    Only joking, good luck Paul.

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