A woman pretended to have terminal breast cancer to escape standing trial over an £18,000 con.

Jean Adshead took payments from a man to facilitate the purchase of The Alma pub, in Newcastle  but then pocketed the money for herself.

The 57-year-old denied the crime, which took place in 2013, and went on to claim she had cancer so couldn’t stand trial.

Between November 2017 and February 2019, Adshead provided forged documents to the court and Crown Prosecution Service.

The courts were considering dismissing the case due to Adshead’s fake prognosis, but when they contacted the doctor who had written one of the reports they discovered he had retired from the NHS in 2016.

Now Adshead has been jailed for 28 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Stoke Live reports.

Prosecutor Roger Brown said the defendant was diagnosed and treated for skin cancer between October 2016 and February 2017.

But her lies to the court began in November 2017.

“The defendant is a mortgage broker,” Mr Brown said. “The victim contacted Adshead at the end of April 2013 because he was interested in purchasing a public house called The Alma.

“As a result of that, there became a number of charges made by the defendant causing the victim to pay out a substantial amount of money.

“There came a point where things stopped for a moment. She claimed to be ill. In fact, she had been sent to prison for almost exactly the same type of offence.

“She came out of prison and she started sending the victim further messages requiring more money. But by this time, he had started looking into what was happening.

“He realised he had been swindled and stopped paying her money. The total amount was over £18,000 in cash and bank transfers.

“Somebody else had bought The Alma, but she was still requesting money.

“She was arrested and she denied that she had been swindling him. She appeared before the court and pleaded not guilty and the matter was set down for trial.”

Stoke on Trent Crown Court

The case was heard at Stoke on Trent Crown Court
(Image: SSmith)

Mr Brown said the court then began receiving documents stating that Adshead was suffering with cancer and unable to attend court.

He added: “There had been so much concern that the defendant was seriously ill, and had been for a long time, so that the Crown Prosecution Service decided to consider whether or not it was in the public interest for this prosecution to continue.

“This information was given to the victim of the fraud and he suffered considerable distress by that decision.

“As a consequence of that, they decided to contact the doctor who had written the report given by Adshead and it turned out that he had retired from the NHS in March 2016.

“The defendant was arrested for perverting the course of justice in November 2019. She stated she was terrified of going back to jail.”

Adshead, of Moreton Road, Solihull, who has a long record of offences including obtaining bank transfer by deception, pleaded guilty to fraud and perverting the course of justice.

Her pleas were on a basis that she did provide false documents to the court and CPS which related to breast cancer between November 2017 and February 2019.

Elizabeth Power, representing Adshead, said that she had spent four months in prison for the same type of offence and had a ‘harrowing’ time.

“She had a deeply harrowing period in custody and was petrified of returning and did all that she could in forging documents to try and prevent her return to prison,” she said.

“She did have a tumour removed and that has caused ongoing problems and she tells me while she was in custody she had ongoing difficulties with that because she wasn’t receiving appropriate medication.

“There is concern whether she will be more susceptible to the Covid-19 virus because of her depressed immune system.”

Sentencing Adshead, Judge David Fletcher said: “The decision made by the CPS to check again what was an extremely convincing forgery of a letter from a consultant oncologist, is the only reason why this matter unravelled.

“I was convinced myself about the circumstances you were putting forward and illnesses you were saying you had.

“You had numerous conversations with members of staff at this court, numerous emails were exchanged explaining about your breast cancer.

“Explaining that your life expectancy was severely reduced to such an extent that having been made aware of the documentation we were giving clear indication to the Crown that they should review the decision to prosecute.

“I hope at the age of 57 this puts all criminal behaviour behind you.”

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