Woman jailed for pretending to have cancer to defraud Yorkshire branch of charity out of £86,000

Patricia Robertshaw was jailed after faking her cancer. (PA)

A woman who pretended she had cancer to con a charity out of more than £86,000 has been jailed.

Patricia Robertshaw, 42, said she was having radiotherapy so she could get three months’ sick pay from Yorkshire Cancer Research in Harrogate.

When she was not working as an events manager for the charity, Robertshaw of Barrowford, Lancashire used fake degree certificates to apply for other jobs.

Robertshaw applied for jobs with fake documents. (PA)

Arfaq Nabi, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This was a calculated and heartless fraud.

“Robertshaw elicited sympathy from her colleagues in an entirely heartless way, claiming to be suffering from the very disease the charity itself was campaigning for.”

York Crown Court heard how Robertshaw had three bogus certificates that she had used to get her job at the charity.

Jailing her for four years and five months, Judge Andrew Stubbs said: “Embedded in the charity as you were, you would have known the good that money would have done.”

Describing her fake illness, he added: “Those claims were as bogus as the qualifications you had used.

“This led to you claiming, without any apparent sense of shame, that you had cancer while working for a cancer charity.

“The charity relies upon the generosity of the public and as a result those who should have benefited from the research will have been impacted in some degree by the fraud of the defendant.”

Two security guards escort Patricia Robertshaw to a prison van after she was jailed at York Crown Court. (PA)

The prosecution said the documents boosted her salary with a £10,250-a-year pay rise, which she earned for seven months, earning a total of £86,833 while working at the charity between September 2015 and November 2017.

Robertshaw started to pretend she had cancer in April 2016 claiming she was having treatment at the Airedale General Hospital in Bradford and at Barrowford Surgery in Nelson, Lancashire.

Her lies unravelled when her colleagues scanned the QR codes on her sick note forms and they were found to be invalid.

The fake degree certificates were for a masters in science and a doctorate in philosophy from Leeds University and a masters in project management from Leeds Metropolitan University.

She pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and one of forgery.

Catherine Silverton, defending, said: “The defendant wishes to express through me her deepest remorse and regret for these offences. She acknowledges the harm done to all of the victims.”