Sixties pop star PJ Proby charged with £47,000 benefit fraud

At the height of his fame, he was said to have more potential than Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
PJ Proby, the sixties rock and roll legend, had homes in Beverly Hills and Chelsea and three Rolls-Royces as well as a luxury yacht.
So as the former millionaire appeared in the dock today accused of a £47,000 benefit fraud, it seemed to be a most spectacular fall from grace.
The singer, real name James Marcus Smith, appeared at Worcester magistrates court accused of falsely claiming pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.
The Texan-born 72-year-old spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth during the five-minute appearance.
Smith faces a total of nine charges, which include two counts of failing to declare savings and investments and four of failing to inform the authorities of a change in circumstance.
He pleaded not guilty to all of them.
Today, he appeared at court wearing sunglasses and flanked by a film crew who were documenting his appearance.
The singer, who is best remembered for splitting his tight trousers on stage because of his demanding dance routines, wore a smart suit and blue shirt with his hair slicked back.
Music insiders recall Smith as being ‘the most bloody talented rock and roll singer in the world’ and ‘more electrifying than James Brown’
At the peak of his fame, when everyone agreed that his raw rendition of Somewhere, from West Side Story, was the best ever, he owned three houses in Beverly Hills and one in Chelsea.
He had three Rolls-Royces, his own Learjet plane and a luxury yacht. But he also had a more worrying penchant for drink-fuelled fights.
Having squandered his fortune, Smith, whose sister once dated Elvis, now lives in a sleepy bungalow in Twyford near Evesham, Worcestershire, with his pet dachshund Tilly and a sign outside saying ‘Trespassers will be shot’
He squandered several fortunes on his unsavoury habits and after multiple bankruptcies returned to Britain and began living on benefits.
However, he continued staging gigs and making appearances which he was paid for.
Unbeknownst to him, investigators from the Department of Work and Pensions had been watching him since 2002 and he was charged with benefits fraud.
Two years ago, when he was first made aware of the investigation, he told the Daily Mail that it was an bureaucratic error.
He said: ‘I am entitled to be on benefits because of my asthma, because I have a separated shoulder from American football and because of my alcoholism.
‘But doctors have always told me I should work to keep me from getting depression.
‘Until I was 65 I got a doctor’s note giving me permission to work despite my disability.
‘But when you get to 65, they don’t accept the doctor’s notes any more because you are supposed to be retired.
‘So if you have bad health after retirement age they don’t see they should pay you the disability allowance because you shouldn’t be working anyway.’
He added: ‘The Government’s always been against me. They come after me when they are bored. I will win this case, but then it really doesn’t matter to me what the outcome is.
‘They don’t have to kick me out of this country, because I’ll gladly leave.’
Smith was granted unconditional bail and is due to reappear at Worcester Magistrates’ Court for a formal committal hearing on March 30