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Cancer fraudster from Lincolnshire conned £15k from bosses





  • Kelsey Whitehead from Lincolnshire told colleagues her condition was terminal 
  • The university graduate also told her wife she was dying from stage 4 cancer 
  • 'Your deceit has been serious and persistent, planned and sophisticated. It has been an insult to people who really do suffer from cancer,' a judge told her today

By Giulia Crouch For Mailonline

Published: 13:44 EDT, 20 March 2017 | Updated: 14:10 EDT, 20 March 2017

Kelsey Whitehead, 38, from Lincolnshire told colleagues at Hull-based firm Carbon Electric her condition was terminal Kelsey Whitehead, 38, from Lincolnshire told colleagues at Hull-based firm Carbon Electric her condition was terminal

Kelsey Whitehead, 38, from Lincolnshire told colleagues at Hull-based firm Carbon Electric her condition was terminal

A cancer fraudster shaved her head and inserted a fake drip into her chest to con her bosses out of £15,000 by pretending she was dying. 

Kelsey Whitehead, 38, claimed to have stage four Metastatic Osteosarcoma which had spread throughout her body.

She told her boss and her wife that the condition was terminal.

Whitehead revealed her 'condition' in a post on Facebook and completely duped her boss at the Hull-based firm Carbon Electric backing up her story by appearing to show the symptoms of the killer disease.

She claimed that the NHS had refused to pay for her treatment and would only fund palliative care forcing her to go private.

As a result her employers loaned her £5,000 so that she could have the treatment. Later when she went off ill they paid her almost £10,000 in sick pay.

Lincoln Crown Court was told that the entire cancer story was fiction with Whitehead researching and then displaying symptoms she had researched on the internet.

She used medication she bought on the web and went on to buy a Hickman Line, a specialist type of drip, which she inserted into her own chest after cutting into her body.

The drip, she claimed, was to allow medication to be administered.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said that Whitehead also shaved off her hair and used make-up to give the impression she was not sleeping at night.

She would vomit at work claiming it was part of her illness.

Whitehead revealed her 'condition' in a post on Facebook and completely duped her boss at the Hull-based firm Carbon Electric backing up her story by appearing to show the symptoms of the killer disease Whitehead revealed her 'condition' in a post on Facebook and completely duped her boss at the Hull-based firm Carbon Electric backing up her story by appearing to show the symptoms of the killer disease

Whitehead revealed her 'condition' in a post on Facebook and completely duped her boss at the Hull-based firm Carbon Electric backing up her story by appearing to show the symptoms of the killer disease

Whitehead's wife Sophie was so taken in that she gave up her job to care for her believing she did not have long to live.

Whitehead, who was employed as an administration manager, started work for Carbon Electric in 2013 and even then claimed to be a recovering cancer sufferer.

Mr Howes said 'In February 2014 the defendant claimed her cancer had returned and she had to go private as the NHS would not fund her treatment. As a result of that the company gave her a £5,000 loan.

'Later the firm paid her holiday pay and sick pay when she went off work. She was told by the company to try to claim PIP benefits but she said it was too drawn out a process and she wouldn't live to receive it.

'Not only did the company part with the £5,000 loan but they also parted with £9,282 in holiday pay and sick pay which she wasn't entitled to because she wasn't sick.

'The company raised £1,400 for charity in her name although the defendant did not benefit from that. It shows how much she took the company in.

'She even duped her partner Sophie who would drop the defendant off at hospital in Lincoln and wait while the defendant was there for two hours. The defendant asked Sophie not to go in with her and she [Sophie] would go off and do some shopping.

'The defendant went into the hospital but what she was doing was sitting in the waiting room for two hours and being picked up afterwards. That was a regular thing once a week.

'She claimed she had terminal cancer. She cut her hair off and making herself sick. She wore a head scarf because she said her hair had not grown back after chemotherapy. She was pretending to go to hospital for treatment. In reality she had looked on the internet to get the background of cancer symptoms.

'She put a fake drip into her chest. It was there for 18 months. She used make-up to give the impression she had not been sleeping

'She announced she had terminal cancer on Facebook. She said she felt everything was slipping away.'

Mr Howes said that at one point Whitehead wrote a letter to her work colleagues saying that the cancer had spread to her neck, bladder, digestive system, liver, kidneys and finally her brain

The hoax only came to light in May 2016 after Whitehead took an overdose and was admitted to hospital.

Mr Howes said 'Her partner said she had cancer. They did the checks and there was no record of it

'This was an elaborate hoax in order to get money that she wasn't entitled to and get a loan she wasn't entitled to.'

Whitehead, of Gainsborough, Lincs, admitted two charges of fraud. She was 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, passing sentence, told her: 'Your deceit has been serious and persistent, planned and sophisticated. It has been an insult to people who really do suffer from cancer.'

Lincoln Crown Court was told that the entire cancer story was fiction with Whitehead researching and then displaying symptoms she had researched on the internet Lincoln Crown Court was told that the entire cancer story was fiction with Whitehead researching and then displaying symptoms she had researched on the internet

Lincoln Crown Court was told that the entire cancer story was fiction with Whitehead researching and then displaying symptoms she had researched on the internet

But the judge said he also had to look at what had caused Whitehead to behave in the way she did.

He said there was evidence that Whitehead had suffered from a number of traumas in her life including sexual, physical and emotional abuse and also suffered from being bullied at school.

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

'The psychiatrist said you have suffered your whole life from severe trauma caused by abuse and your capability to form healthy and fulfilling relationships has been impaired. That, it seems to me, has triggered your behaviour.'

Karen Walton, in mitigation, said that Whitehead had a history of lying since she was a teenager which stemmed from abuse she suffered as a child and resulted in a constant fear of abandonment.

'She has suffered whole life trauma caused by the abuse and lack of support from both parents. The traumatic events of her past are portrayed as having had a very acute impact on her as her life has progressed.

'She feels remorse for all her behaviour.'

Lizzie Hutton, one of the directors of Whitehead's employers Carbon Electric , said in a statement read out in court 'I cannot begin to describe how betrayed and disappointed we feel. We cannot understand why she would do this to us, her friends and to Sophie.

'When I first heard that Kelsey was not ill it felt like I had gone through a bereavement and that the person I cared about did not exist any more. Not only was the cancer not real but the hospital appointments were fake.

'We have lost a considerable amount of money especially as we , like so many small businesses, are continuing to operate in difficult times.' 

 


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