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Cancer fraud who embezzled cash is sentenced

A mum who faked having terminal cancer to con well-wishers into parting with thousands of pounds in donations has been spared immediate prison.

Derbyshire Live reports that a judge told Megan Scotcher, of Ripley, her shameful ruse was “a terrible lie”.

Nottingham Crown Court was told how between June and December last year the 28-year-old accepted what was believed to initially be £22,000 in charitable donations.

Her sentencing hearing has now been told that was just over £16,000, with one person even taking part in a 1,000-km cycle ride to raise cash for her and her two young sons.

Judge Steven Coupland, handing her a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, said: “You lied about having terminal cancer to steal charitable donations.

“You told a terrible lie to your family and friends.

“They are the headlines, but I have read a lot about you.

“You were trapped and things snowballed.

“What you did was serious and caused a great deal of upset to family, friends and people who generously contributed and who feel taken advantage of.

“The probation service assesses you as somebody who presents a low risk of reoffending and I agree with that.”

Gurdial Singh, prosecuting, said the defendant was diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, but went into remission.

He said last year she told her family it had come back and was terminal.

Mr Singh said: “A GoFundMe page was set up and there was publicity in the Derby Telegraph and then The Sun newspaper about her plight.

“One mother, who knew her as hers and the defendant’s two sons went to school, together also raised £2,315.

“In October of last year, the defendant told her mother she had a mass on her brain and would only live until January.

“But her mother became suspicious as her daughter made her wait outside hospital appointments she had taken to saying she could not come in because of Covid-19.

“The mother then tried to contact an oncologist but one didn’t exist.”

Mr Singh said Scotcher, now a mother of three having given birth to a daughter just two months ago, then attempted to take her own life.

Scotcher, of Kirk Close and who has no previous convictions of any kind, previously pleaded guilty to fraud over video link at a hearing at the same court on June 3.

She told police she had got into debt with an ex-partner.

James Horne, mitigating, said his client’s case has attracted a large deal of press attention both locally and nationally.

He said: “This case is both shocking and tragic in equal measure (but) her behaviour can be properly categorised as sad rather than bad.

“Her real criminal mistake was not telling the truth when it came out. That’s the reality.”

As part of the suspended sentence Scotcher was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.

He also ordered her to pay back a nominal £1 from her ill-gotten gains as she has no money or assets.