Welwyn Garden City woman cons victims in gay and lesbian chatrooms

A 53-YEAR-OLD woman used gay and lesbian chatrooms to find victims for a number of scams that netted her more than �80,000, a court was told. Joann Wood is believed to have conned victims right across the UK, claiming she was dying of cancer or needed cas

A 53-YEAR-OLD woman used gay and lesbian chatrooms to find victims for a number of scams that netted her more than �80,000, a court was told.

Joann Wood is believed to have conned victims right across the UK, claiming she was dying of cancer or needed cash to buy into a business.

On other occasions, Wood of Knightsfield, WGC, befriended elderly people, some of whom were terminally ill, and acted as their carer.

On leaving their service, Wood stole some of her patients' Class A medication to persuade other victims she herself was being treated for cancer.


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Wood has admitted six charges of fraud by false representation and two counts of possessing Class A drugs.

She is due to be sentenced at St Albans Crown Court in the next few weeks.

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A number of fraud offences will also be taken into consideration.

The court heard that Wood, who is originally from Nottinghamshire, befriended people via gay and lesbian websites, with a view to forming a relationship.

Once she had gained their trust by declaring her love for them, Wood would claim she needed money for cancer treatment or to buy shares in business interests.

Her scams also extended to staying in hotels and guesthouses then leaving without paying bills - and in one case, even stealing a Landrover from the owners.

As well as claiming she was a vet, or a police officer Wood also claimed she was a nurse and used her basic first aid skills to con her way into caring for elderly people, some of whom were dying.

She would gain the victim and their family's trust before stealing from them.

Her eldest victim was in her mid-80s.

Detective Sergeant Mick West, from Hertfordshire Constabulary's CID, said: "We would very much like to speak to anyone else who feels they may have been targeted by this woman.

"As well as using a number of different characters and occupations, she also had a number of aliases and you may have known her as Jayne O'Neil, Jayne Thayer or Kathryn Wheldon.

"She was also known to operate across the UK and allegations we are aware of to date occurred in areas including Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Wales, Devon & Cornwall and potentially further afield."

Call police on 0845 33 00 222.

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