Beds, Herts & Bucks

'Cancer scammer' guilty of swindling family out of £21,000

Ellen Danagher Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Ellen Danagher was convicted of swindling relatives out of thousands of pounds after claiming she had only a few years to live

A woman who faked cancer has been found guilty of conning her family out of thousands of pounds.

Ellen Danagher's sister and brothers gave her £21,000 when she told them she had bowel cancer and needed treatment.

Her siblings became suspicious and hired a private detective, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Danagher, 48, of Elsons Mews, Welwyn Garden City, was found guilty of fraud by false representation by a jury and will be sentenced next month.

During the four-day trial prosecutor Robin Miric said Danagher told her siblings she had cancer in 2009 and had been offered "a new and innovative treatment".

Her sister, Kathleen Young, gave her about £12,000 and an additional £150 per month for organic food - while her brothers John and Patrick Mullins each gave her £7,000.

She showed them a fake letter from a hospital to back up her story.

Mrs Young said the family had "no reason not to believe" their sister when she said treatment could cost up to £180,000.

Danagher also once sent a text telling them she only had "three to five years to live", the court was told.

The family became suspicious about her claims in 2014 and hired a private detective before police were called in.

In 2015, her brother Patrick Mullins confronted his sister and she admitted she had lied.

During a police interview in February 2017, Danagher insisted she did have cancer and was receiving private treatment, however, at a later date she was unable to provide documentation relating to her diagnosis.

She was found guilty of three counts of fraud by false representation and released on bail until her sentencing on 19 December.

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