A teacher pretended she had cancer to trick kind-hearted people into giving her cash.
Keera Brayford lied to close family and friends, claiming she had three types of tumours which were growing and likely to kill her.
The 25-year-old said she was undergoing aggressive chemotherapy which was also making her feel very sick.
She made Google searches on “how to defraud an employer” as part of her complex ruse, the court heard.
Charity fundraising efforts were organised to help her and one man even planned to jump out of a plane to get her more cash.
After months of deceit, Brayford was finally caught and arrested by police, leaving those who knew her astonished by her dishonesty.
The woman from Whiston, Merseyside, was charged with fraud by representation and pleaded guilty to all the offences in front of city magistrates.
Today, Brayford avoided jail after a judge described her behaviour as “despicable” but suspended her prison sentence, meaning she walked free with a curfew and an electronic tag.
Tens of thousands of pounds were raised on a JustGiving website, with Brayford keeping her story secret for months on end.
Brayford was eventually caught out by staff at the Thomas Sutton Academy in St Helens who suspected she was faking some medical notes.
When finally confronted and admitting her lies to detectives, she explained her fraudulent ruse began because she was finding it difficult to get time off to go and get a test for sexually transmitted diseases.
The JustGiving website was set up under the headline: "Cancer does not have a face until it’s yours or someone you know."
Mandy Nepal, prosecuting, said Brayford invented doctors’ names who she claimed were dealing with her, and set up the JustGiving page, initially, to get cash to provide “breathing space.”
The former teacher told friends she had undergone bouts of chemotherapy, and said she was looking into alternative treatments as traditional methods to beat the supposed cancer had not worked.
In total, £19,000 was swindled, with £10,000 still with JustGiving and unspent, but another £9,000 used to pay off some of her debts.
She claimed she had fatal illnesses which meant “she was not going to live long” and used some of the fundraised cash on clothes, and payments to the Very.co.uk female fashion store.
Brayford even hoodwinked her mum and dad, who attended Liverpool Crown Court today, in support of their daughter.
She concocted a Macmillan cancer letter, invented a doctor’s name and email addresses to try and provide proof of her illness.
In September, police attended her home address, where she still persisted with her lies, informing detectives that her skin cancer had “spread to her muscles and her torso,” and that she had started fundraising for money to finance alternative treatments.
Brayford described suspicions from staff at her ex-St Helens school were “malicious and not true.”
But she was arrested days later and it was revealed she’d been suspended by the school and quit her job over the falsification of medical notes.
Finally, Brayford, of Cedar Road, Whiston, admitted pretending she had cancer, but told police she was still ill and was in constant pain.
When detectives showed her evidence from the NHS she had never had cancer, she confessed to the full details of the fraud.
Brayford admitted she had never had chemo, she was not under any duress or pressure, conceding, “it all got a bit much”, when her fraud gathered pace and was in full swing.
Recorder Kate Cornell said: “This is a pretty sophisticated fraud on the goodwill of the public…she knew full well she wasn’t getting chemo, and yet she asked for money for that treatment…she lied to family and friends as well.”
It was added that ‘“vulnerable” Brayford had a “troubled history”, has previously tried to harm herself and is scheduled to undergo an ultrasound appointment tomorrow from an “auto immune” type of disease.
Defending, Amy Butler said: “She is extremely remorseful…she will never be able to work as a teacher again.
"She is devastated that she finds herself in this position”
Recorder Cornell told her: "Generous people, genuinely believed in your plight…this was a sophisticated fraud….you forged letters and sick notes from doctors.
“You made heartfelt pleas on websites….you set up a false email account..
"It was all a lie…you maintained this to your colleagues at work, even your friends and family.
“Your parents believed you were attending appointments at the Lilac Centre… (an onocology day unit)…of course you were not.
“You were all the while googling how to forge medical notes…instead you turned to fraud, misleading innocent people donating to you out of the goodness of their hearts.
“You have behaved despicably…people were misled in the cruelest way..”
Brayford was handed a two year sentence, suspended for two years, and must complete 35 rehabilitation days.
She must keep a curfew, meaning she must be indoors between the hours 7pm to 6am.
She will also wear an electronic tag for a year.
Top news stories from Mirror Online
Source: Read Full Article