A TRANSSEXUAL who conjured up several aliases including a Countess to defraud Brent Council of £197,000 has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Marianne Jonson, of Wembley, invented ten aliases including the Countess Mariaska Romanov and falsified medical assessment forms, benefit applications and other documents.

The 49-year-old, born Robert Duxbury, even pretended to have paraplegia to get more benefits, telling the council she had a twin sister who could walk to develop the lie further.

This enabled her to claim special housing put aside for disabled people. She was found guilty after a trial at Harrow Crown Court on Thursday.

The fraud dated back to 1996 when she told officials she had been paralysed after an accident in a lift in 1992, saying she had no income or savings.

However, at the same time she applied for the lease on the Lodge cafe in Roundwood Park, Willesden, which she ran her alter ego The Countess.

Security camera footage was shown in court of her serving in the cafe. Later she got celebrities, including Louis Theroux, to back the business which she claimed was failing.

She also served on the board of governors of a local school.

Investigators were tipped off to the fraud when Jonson was spotted walking her dog through the park, realising she had claimed to be bed-bound.

Because of this she was claiming £450-a-week to get a carer as well as a desirable ground-floor flat in Rawlings Crescent.

When social services visited her for inspections Jonson would stay in bed with the curtains closed claiming to be light sensitive, using the darkened room to avoid recognition.

At the trial Jonson claimed investigators had taken her medical documents when they searched her home.

But her own osteopath testified she had given him a copy, which were allegedly from an eminent surgeon, but they were based on a Google search and created after he had died.

Further investigations showed large sums of cash had been deposited in bank accounts from the cafe which she used to fund a lifestyle of foreign travel and lavish shopping trips to Brent Cross.

Simon Lane, head of audit and investigation at Brent Council, said: "This sentence sends out a strong message from the court to those who may be considering benefit fraud.

“Brent Council has carried out one of the most detailed and lengthy investigations in its history in order to bring a prosecution in this case.

“I am sure that taxpayers will be very satisfied with the outcome."