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Woman who faked terminal cancer and spent £16,000 in donations spared jail

Megan Scotcher, 28, suffered from mental health issues and things had ‘snowballed’ out of control, the judge said

Megan Scotcher, 28, set up an online fundraising page claiming she had been diagnosed with cancer

A woman who faked having terminal cancer and spent over £16,000 of donation money has been spared jail.

Megan Scotcher, 28, from Ripley, Derbyshire, set up an online fundraising page claiming doctors had discovered a mass on her brain and that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Scotcher had accepted money between June and December 2020 in charitable donations, including from one person who took part in a 1,000-km cycle ride to raise money for her and her children, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

Gurdial Singh, prosecuting, said Scotcher had been diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, but went into remission. Last year, she told her family it had come back and that it was terminal, he said.

Megan Scotcher, 28, of Ripley, Derbyshire, leaves Nottingham Crown Court after receiving a suspended sentence for charity fraud

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, 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.

The court heard Scotcher had intended to take her own life

Handing her a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, Judge Steven Coupland told Scotcher: “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.”

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.

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

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