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Cancer con woman spared jail term

A woman who conned her friends and employers into believing she was dying of cervical cancer has been spared a jail sentence.

Caroline Bull, 38, of Amo Mews, Worthing, West Sussex, pocketed £8,537 in sick leave and raised £4,500 that was supposed to go to charity under the pretence that she had months to live.

She even discussed her own funeral and convinced friends to get matching tattoos in a display of support.

Hove Crown Court heard she deceived friends and family over a two-year period. She was later diagnosed with clinical depression, after the offences had been committed.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Gareth Burrows said: "Caroline Bull registered with a cancer agency in 2008, and she registered with that agency under the pretence that she had cervical cancer and was intending to raise funds for Cancer Research. In fact she did not have cancer and all the funds that she raised through various fundraising nights was not received by Cancer Research."

He said Bull told her friend Gemma Radley, who worked in a hair salon, that she had five months to live. Ms Radley helped her organise a fundraising day where the premises were decked out in pink and customers were encouraged to put money in charity boxes.

A statement from Ms Radley was read out in court in which she said she "could not understand how someone could lie about cancer".

The court heard that Bull had pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation and one of theft, which related to her receiving the sick pay from her employers, H&R Healthcare, between October 2008 and May 2009. However she denied a third charge of theft from Cancer Research UK, which is to be left on file.

Kriston Berlevy, for the defence, said "a more upsetting and unpleasant set of circumstances would be difficult to imagine".

He said Bull had no previous convictions and an "exemplary" work record while her motive behind the offences remained unclear

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