Welwyn Garden City fraudster who faked cancer spared jail time
PUBLISHED: 14:48 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:49 19 December 2018
A Welwyn Garden City fraudster has been spared jail after faking cancer and conning her siblings out of £21,000 for ‘treatment’.
In 2009, Ellen Danagher, of Elsons Mews, gave her siblings - a sister and two brothers - a fake medical letter using the name of a real professor at The Royal Marsden Hospital.
The falsified letter offered her a breakthrough treatment for bowel cancer, which runs in their family.
Using cash from savings, loans, and fundraising, the siblings gave Danagher £21,000 to complete the medical care.
Throughout her trial, Danagher maintained that she had received treatment from a private firm - but the professor testified to say he had not sent the letter, did not practice what was described, and no hospital visits were recorded.
Danagher was repaying the money she took, but when the transactions stopped her siblings became suspicious.
They hired a private detective who uncovered the fraud, and on November 23 Danagher was found guilty of three counts of fraud by false representation.
At St Albans Crown Court today, Danagher was handed an 18-month sentence for each offence, all running concurrently and suspended for two years.
She must also do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay back £35 per month to each sibling, to the total value of £3,600.
Defending Edward McKiernan stressed this is not a typical case: “There are fraud cases where the last thing anyone is doing is repaying money and this is not the case.
“It is clear there is a toxic relationship within the family.”
He said she takes medication for long-term anxiety and depression and is a businesswoman of previous good character.
He added: “The defendant is not going to come back before the courts again and she is actually working, despite her disabilities, and that is more than most people who come to this court for regular offending.”
During sentencing, prosecuting barrister Laura Blackband highlighted that the family had requested a restraining order, but this application was denied.
Judge Christopher Jean QC said:“It was a cruel deception of caring siblings given the family history of bowel cancer.
“You must have known the fear it would have caused in your siblings.”
He added: “I am very concerned about the lack of any obvious contrition on your part but I am completely confident that you don’t pose a risk to the public.”