Cancer scammer ‘wicked’

From the courts
From the courts

A CANCER fraudster who fiddled over £45,000 state cash was told by a judge: “You are a mean and wicked woman.

“You confuse doctors and lie continuously to them. You were perfectly well,” Judge Andrew Hamilton told Michelle Farnsworth, 39, of Belmont Terrace, Buxton.

He imposed a two year, six month prison term on Farnsworth, who was paid disability living allowance after falsely saying she was dying of cancer.

She got a wheelchair and walking frame when she claimed to have trouble getting around. But she took holidays in Egypt and Turkey while often visiting her brother in Cyprus.

Farnsworth admitted falsely making claims to get the disability benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions. Over several years, the court was told she was correctly paid £100,000 in income support on top of the fraudulent payouts.

Grace Hale, prosecuting, said she made disability claims from 2001, saying she had cancer of the womb, mouth and cervix. Hospital tests were “all normal.”

Then she claimed extra benefit and was featured in a local newspaper organising support for cervical cancer work, saying she was a sufferer.

Farnsworth visited her doctor complaining of a lump in a breast. This turned out to be a minor problem but she claimed to have undergone a mastectomy.

Mrs Hale told Derby Crown Court: “The allowance was enhanced to the rate for a person in the category of being terminally ill or not likely to live longer than six months.”

Nicola Gatto, mitigating, said: “She has a chronic psychiatric illness, a deeply embedded condition which has gone on for many years.

“There is no reason why you would go to the doctor on 300 occasions to no end if there is no deep rooted problem. This is a craving for attention caused by failing to have attention as a child.”