Cancer scam: Woman jailed for conning friends into paying for her wedding

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Cancer scam: Woman jailed for conning friends into paying for her wedding after saying she had few days to live

A woman has been given a prison sentence after she convinced friends into thinking she was going to die from cancer which turned out to be a pack of lies.

She told two of her closest friends Angela Rowson and Jennifer Douglass that she had ovarian cancer and that it had spread to other parts of her body in June 2015.

Standen, from Widnes, Cheshire, gave regular updates on treatments she was receiving and even shaved her hair off as part of the scam that cost her friends and family £8,344.

Her story was published in local media, leading to further offers of flowers and cars for her wedding to partner James.

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Toni Standen, 29, appeared so genuine that a businessman donated £2,000 for a fundraiser that was set up to pay for her wedding. As well as being jailed for five months she has been ordered to pay that money back.

Meanwhile she used the plight of her father Derek – who was actually dying of cancer – to further tug at people’s heartstrings.

Derek died before the wedding but a video he recorded was played on the day.

One guest said: ‘After hearing her father’s laboured words she got up and gave a faultless speech, even cracking a few jokes.

‘Her mother and brother were in bits. We’d all just listened to a father of the bride message from beyond the grave.

‘Toni even received a video message from Everton FC, delivered by one of the top players. She laughed throughout.’

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Suspicions grew and Standen finally admitted that she did not have cancer in a recorded three-way phone call with her two friends.

She sent them a text message afterwards saying: ‘I love you both, I am thankful for everything over the last couple of years. I am very sorry for all of this, I am embarrassed and heartbroken and right now I am struggling.

‘There is so much I want to say but struggling where to start. At the minute I don’t know if Jim and I will be getting a divorce, I don’t blame him if he does and I don’t blame you both if this is the end, I completely understand and will have to somehow move on through it’

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Judge Sanders told her: ‘You continued to embellish that tissue of lies, saying you had weeks to live. I don’t accept you couldn’t stop. Not only did you not stop, you made it worse by giving newspaper interviews to engender public sympathy.

‘You used that money raised through the generosity of strangers to fund a wedding and a holiday. You kept taking money over many months. Every right thinking member of society would be appalled by your behaviour.’

 

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