Times caption: Ellen Danagher, 48, showed her family a fake letter from a cancer consultant
A piece by John Reynolds in yesterday’s Times:
A woman conned her family out of thousands of pounds by pretending that she had bowel cancer.
Ellen Danagher, 48, tricked her sister and two of her brothers into raising £21,000 to pay for what she claimed was “a new and innovative treatment”.
However, her siblings became suspicious and hired a private detective before calling in police. Her sister, Kathleen Young, who had handed over about £12,000, said: “We had no reason not to believe her. She’s our sister and we loved her.” Ms Young described the impact of the scam on her family as a “terrible thing”. She added: “I don’t understand why she has done this. She must be very sick mentally.”
Danagher, from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, was convicted at St Albans crown court of three charges of fraud by false representation. She will be sentenced on December 19.
In 2009 Danagher told Ms Young and her brothers, John and Patrick Mullins, that she had been offered a treatment that she thought would be successful in treating her condition, the court was told.
To add weight to her story, Danagher emailed them a letter that purported to be from Professor Martin Gore at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. The letter read: “Dear Ellen, it was a pleasure to meet you on Wednesday and, if positivity was a cure, I would bottle yours.”
In a statement, Professor Gore said the hospital had not been able to find any record of Ellen Danagher on its electronic patient system.
Of the £21,000 asked for by Danagher, the brothers each gave £7,000 and Ms Young and her husband paid the rest — as well as regular extra sums for organic food.
Ms Young said both she and her older brother and their father and an uncle had suffered from bowel cancer.
Patrick Mullins confronted his sister in 2015. He said: “She accepted it. She said she wasn’t ill. I said, ‘Why did you lie to us?’ and she said, ‘I did lots of good things, so why pull me up about this?’ ” [J4MB emphasis]
He said that he had not spoken to Danagher since.
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