Essex

Danielle Watson spared jail over wedding cancer scam

Danielle Watson
Image caption Danielle Watson was told she had shown "a supreme lack of maturity"

A woman who claimed to have terminal cancer to raise money for her wedding has been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence.

Danielle Watson, 24, of Rowhedge near Colchester, Essex, conned friends and strangers out of nearly £10,000.

Watson's scam included a Twitter auction, raffles, cake sales and fundraising nights.

She was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court after admitting fraud on the first day of her trial in October.

The court heard that in January 2012 Watson announced she had stage four cervical cancer.

She brought forward her wedding by several months to April of that year, telling people she was doing this so it could take place before radiotherapy and chemotherapy made her hair fall out.

'On a whim'

Although she had been treated previously for a gynaecological condition, Watson was never diagnosed with cancer, the court heard.

She aroused suspicions by failing to provide proof of her illness and demanding donations be paid into her account.

Sentencing Watson, Recorder Gerard Pounder told her: "You showed a supreme lack of maturity.

"Many people dealt with you with supreme generosity because they believed you only had a short time left on this planet."

Rebecca Blain, mitigating, told the court: "The genesis of these lies was opportunistic when she was diagnosed with polyps and had to undergo a routine operation.

"She did this on a whim and did not think through the wider impact of those lies."

Watson, who pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation, had her jail term suspended for two years and was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

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