Great Britain

Mum-of-two, 28, who faked having terminal cancer to her family and friends and stole £16,000 in donations is spared jail

A DEVIOUS mum who faked having terminal cancer to her family and friends while stealing £16,000 in donations has been spared jail.

Megan Scotcher, 28, admitted faking terminal cancer and saying she had just months to live to dupe money from well-wishers, a court was told.

Scotcher had genuinely been struck by cancer on three previous occasions - but had been cured by chemotherapy and surgery.

However, in July last year, she claimed that a hospital check-up had revealed that the cancer had returned.

The mum also said she had been told by doctors that because of previous treatments, her organs had been too badly damaged for another round of chemotherapy.

Shocked relatives and friends began to raise money so Scotcher could have a good quality of life in her final months with her sons, then aged eight and two.

Scotcher even took part in media interviews to speak of her 'devastation'.

In total, £16,426 was donated to GoFundMe websites following a series of events, including a sponsored 1,000km bike ride, a court heard.

But it was all a lie - with Scotcher being caught out by her own mum, who became suspicious about being asked to wait outside during four-weekly hospital appointments "because of Covid-19".

Further doubts crept in when there was no involvement of Macmillan cancer nurses - as there had been previously - and when attempts were made to contact her oncologist, it was discovered he didn't exist.

Nottingham Crown Court heard the hospital subsequently confirmed no treatment was taking place - and as a result, Scotcher's mum confronted her in December.

Scotcher went missing and was eventually found after making a suicide attempt. She was reported to the police by her mum, and was later arrested.

You caused a great deal of upset to your family and friends.

Judge Steven Coupland

Gurdial Singh, prosecuting, told the court: "There is an abuse of trust, fraudulent activity over a sustained period, and a large number of victims."

But Scotcher, who admitted fraud by false representation, was handed a 10-month jail term by Judge Steven Coupland - suspended for a year.

She was also told to complete 100 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Scotcher was ordered to repay a 'nominal' £1 of the money she received - £4,000 of which the court heard went on repaying her debts, and the rest to "fund activities and purchases in the main to the benefit" of her two sons.

Judge Coupland told Scotcher she had told her friends and family a "terrible lie".

However, he said it was 'plain' she had suffered from mental health issues for a number of years.

'TRAPPED BY LIES'

He said: "I accept that you didn't set out to gain any financial benefit for yourself, but quickly found you were trapped when things snowballed, and that you weren't able to tell the truth once people were onside trying to help you because that would mean revealing the lie you told.

"What you did was serious... because you caused a great deal of upset to your family and friends.

"Serious also, because the people who generously contributed felt like they had been taken advantage of, like you had somehow tricked them to steal money from them."

Scotcher wept and thanked the judge as her sentence was handed down.

James Horne, defending, said the fundraising page had been set up "without Scotcher's knowledge or encouragement" by her ex-partner, and by the time she gave interviews to the media she felt "trapped in the lie she had told".

Horne added: "She greatly regrets her behaviour, and the consequences."

Scotcher was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, when she was 14.

She had to undergo chemotherapy and have the bones in her leg replaced with titanium.

The cancer struck twice more - once in 2009 and then again in 2010, when it had moved to her lungs.

In 2009 and 2010 she underwent chemotherapy and an operation to remove the tumours.

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