Cancer scammer cheats employers out of thousands

Emma Woollacott
Patient in Hospital
Patient in Hospital

A con-woman cheated her employers by pretending she had cancer - and even inserted her own drip to keep up the pretence.

And while Kelsey Whitehead, 38, conned £15,000 from Carbon Electric in east Hull through the deception, she's been ordered to repay just £1, as she has no assets to sell.

See also: Scam alert over fake Grenfell Tower fundraisers

See also: 'Single mum' benefits cheat caught after mentioning marriage online

Whitehead, from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, claimed on Facebook that she had stage four metastatic osteosarcoma bone cancer, which had spread.

According to Lincolnshire Live, she wrote to her colleagues saying that she had cancer in her neck, bladder, digestive system, liver, kidneys and her brain.

To back up her story, she shaved her head, used makeup to make herself look exhausted, and made herself sick at work. She even bought a Hickman line drip and cut her own chest to insert it.

When Whitehead told her employers that the NHS wouldn't fund her care, they lent her £5,000, on top of giving her almost £10,000 in sick pay.

She even managed to fool her own partner, Sophie, who gave up her own job to look after Whitehead and drove her to the hospital every week for non-existent appointments.

Whitehead has now been given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for a year with a 20-week night time curfew and a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Michael Heath said her deception was an insult to people who really do suffer from cancer.

"Your behaviour has been bizarre," he said. "To insert a tube and keep it there without medical supervision indicates there is a real psychological problem."

Sadly, though, it's by no means unusual for scammers to fake cancer, and there have been several cases over the last few months.

Last November, for example, former soldier Simon Buckden was found guilty of faking cancer to defraud well-wishers out of thousands of pounds.

A month later, professional violinist Bethan Doci was convicted of doing the same thing, spending the £300,000 she conned out of strangers on holidays abroad with her French boyfriend, expensive handbags and cars.

And in April this year, David Rae of Paisley conned a woman out of £14,000 by claiming he had cancer after meeting her on a dating site.