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Mum Jailed After Convincing People She Had Cancer In A ‘Truly Despicable’ Scam

by : Daniel Richardson on :
Mum Jailed After Convincing People She Had Cancer In A 'Truly Despicable' Scam (CPS/PA)CPS / PA

A mother from Hull lied to her friends and family as she told them she had 18 months to live because of lung cancer. 

Stephanie Hunter, aged 32, shaved off her hair and told her loved ones she had lung cancer that had progressed to her brain. The mother of three even told her husband to make arrangements for her funeral.

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On the back of Hunter’s claims, her employer set up a JustGiving page and allowed her to reduce her hours. However, the ruse came to an end when attempts to obtain medical confirmation of her condition had failed. This led to her statuary sick payments freezing.

Stephanie Hunter (CPS)CPS

In 2016, Hunter had been working as a telesales agent for the company ResQ in Hull. One day, she handed in a 21-day sick note and stated that she was having surgery because of lung cancer. After this, she did not work a full week between January and September of 2017 because of her fake claims of having aggressive chemotherapy.

ResQ allowed Hunter to work flexibly and her colleagues pooled together to create a donation page for her ‘last trip’ to Disneyland Paris with her three children. Alongside prize draws and events hosted by local businesses, £10,446 was raised for the trip. The holiday included 5-star hotels and first-class trains to the park.

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When the medical information for Hunter’s condition couldn’t be confirmed, the authorities stepped in. Social services were introduced after concerns about Hunter’s children and, eventually, she confessed to making her illness up. This lie led to her husband leaving.

Prosecutor David Godfrey stated:

As a result of his wife’s lies, he left the family home. He feels great shame and embarrassment at what happened. He is now in debt. His family life has been shattered as a result of his former wife’s lies.

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John Dunning, who was mitigating, said the lies were a cry for attention, stating, ‘Once a lie starts and becomes established, it has a life, it seems, of its own,’ The Independent reports.

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Dunning added:

All of this offending must be seen through that prism. She continued the lie and she took actions to support that lie.

So we have the situation where people’s good nature has been abused, where they will feel that their charity, their willingness to give, has been taken advantage of and they, no doubt, themselves will feel particularly disillusioned and will feel a degree of disappointment, if not anger, with somebody who was a colleague.

Speaking about her crimes, Hunter said ‘I never want to put myself in this position again.’ Despite a psychiatrist noting that Hunter was emotionally unstable, she has been charged with fraud and perverting the course of justice.

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Judge John Thackray QC told Hunter that ‘Your lies and conduct were truly despicable.’

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. These included the likes of The Hook, WhatCulture and Game Rant. Eventually, Dan found a home for his journalism at UNILAD.

Topics: News, Cancer, Hull, Now, UK

Credits

The Independent
  1. The Independent

    Woman shaved her hair off in a ‘truly despicable’ cancer scam