AN NHS manager on £49,000-a-year has been accused of fiddling four months of sick pay for chronic back pay while competing at showjumping events.

Keen horsewoman Elise David, 33, claimed she was in too much pain to work - but was allegedly caught on camera showjumping at Chepstow, Monmouth and other events elsewhere.

Newport Crown Court court heard Ms David went off on the sick from her NHS testing laboratory with back injuries and "cognitive deficiencies" after falling off her horse.

Nigel Fryer, prosecuting, said: "She was off work for the next four months but at that time she was was taking part in dressage, cross country and showjumping competitions during that time."

A jury heard she even underwent medical examinations "only a matter of days" after she was found to be competing at equestrian events.

South Wales Argus: (Ms David, pictured on her horse - Credit: CPS)

Witnesses claimed Ms David appeared to “shuffle” and said “her gait was timid” and walked with a stick at the occupational health examinations which determined whether she was fit to work.

Ms David had contacted her employers in June 2016 at the Surgical Materials Testing Laboratory in Bridgend, South Wales, where she worked as quality manager to say she had "injured her back and was struggling to walk".

Mr Fryer said: "She called in on September 6 that year and stated she was still having difficulty walking and could not drive."

But the court heard that at the same time she was taking part in show-jumping events on her seven-year-old gelding called Caereau Freeway.

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A jury heard she had ridden the horse at two events in Wales and two in the West Country at the time she claimed she had the chronic back pain.

The court also heard how Ms David did not reveal her show-jumping events before having a phased return to work in October 2016. She resigned four months later before leaving in April 2017.

Colleague Jess Bodman, an IT analyst at the NHS labs, later discovered her name on the British Eventing website.

Mr Fryer said it displayed results for 2016 at the time she was off sick - showing she took part in events in Chepstow, South Wales, and Calmsden, Wiltshire, in July 2016.

It also revealed that she then competed in Monmouth, South Wales, and Trowbridge, West Wiltshire, in September - at the same time she was getting sick pay.

NHS fraud investigators uncovered registration for several events during her sick leave under the name Anne Davies with details matching Ms David’s home and email addresses.

At an interview with NHS fraud investigators, Ms David insisted that the registration under the name Anne Davies was not her and was a “good friend”.

However, the court heard Ms David later admitted that it was herself.

When shown images which investigators believed to be of her at events in Chepstow, Monmouth and Carmsden, Ms David refused to confirm that she was the rider pictured.

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She said: “To be honest, these days people photoshop everything. I can’t be sure.”

She even denied owning the horse, registered as Caerau Freeway, but later let slip that it did in fact belong to her.

Her GP Doctor Anna Thomas confirmed that it was her “professional opinion” that Ms David was unfit for work and for horse riding.

She said: “If I told her to get back on her horse it would have been a comment for the future because she was not fit enough at that point.

“I gave her a sick not because she was not fit to return to work.”

Newport Crown Court heard how Ms David did not reveal her show-jumping events before having a phased return to work in October 2016. She resigned four months later before leaving in April 2017.

She is accused of fraud charge between July and October 2016.

Ms David, of Nottage, Porthcawl, denies fraud.

The trial is expected to last three days and is continuing before Judge Daniel Williams.