Primary school teaching assistant tricked her friends and colleagues into believing she had terminal brain cancer in a 20,000 scam Ursula Rose, 42, from South Norwood, claimed she had cancer, and had 'tumours in her head', a court heard today
Friends 'plunged themselves into debt by taking out loans or withdrawing money from their own childrens' accounts to help'Her doctor later confirmed she had never had brain tumours, but suffered from 'tension-like headaches', a jury was told
18:12 GMT, 19 February 2013
18:24 GMT, 19 February 2013
A primary school teaching assistant scammed 20,000 out of concerned colleagues after she tricked them into believing she had terminal brain cancer, a jury were told today.
A fundraiser was even held to finance private Harley Street treatment for Ursula Rose, 42, and friends plunged themselves into debt by taking out loans or withdrawing money from their own childrens' accounts to help.
The mother-of-four from South Norwood – who worked at the local Saint Thomas Becket school – denies she invented the illness, instead claiming the victims volunteered to help her through money troubles.
Denial: Ursula Rose is accused of scamming 20,000 out of concerned colleagues after she tricked them into believing she had terminal brain cancer, a jury were told today
Prosecutor Claire Robinson told Croydon Crown Court Rose had
repeatedly made false representations to friends and work colleagues
that she was suffering from cancer, and that she had tumours in her head.
She said: 'She did this to get their sympathy, to get loans of money from them. This was dishonest and calculated to make people feel sorry for her.
'Over a number of years she repeatedly told friends and colleagues that she was severely ill with cancer and she was doing it in order to gain money from people.'
Fellow teaching assistant Gillian Trype gave the defendant 3,000 after Rose convinced her she feared dying on the operating theatre table during a 37,000 private operation and felt her husband would not cope financially, it was claimed.
'She told her and others that the brain tumours were growing aggressively and she was going for daily chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment' Miss Robinson said.
'She was told by Ursula Rose that one of the tumours was wrapped around a main artery near her temple and it could kill her at any moment.
'She said it was terminal and at level four and she needed an operation that was too dangerous for the NHS so was paying 37,000 to go private.
'Mrs Trype's two daughters had money in their savings and she borrowed that, intending to repay it with a lump sum from her pension,' explained Miss Robinson.
She said Rose took time off work for the non-existent 'operation' and when she returned told colleagues it had been partially successful, but a 7,000 American wonder drug could combat the remaining life-threatening tumour.
'Conned': Fellow teaching assistant Gillian Trype gave the defendant 3,000 after Rose said her husband would not cope financially if she died, it was claimed
Concerned colleagues: In June, 2009 fellow staff at Saint Thomas Becket school attended a fundraiser to raise money for a new 'miracle drug' for her
In June, 2009 staff attended a fundraiser at Croydon's Bar Txt, contributing to a collection aimed at raising money for the new drug.
Another member of staff, Allison Patmore, gave Rose 6,500 as a deposit on a 40,000 private Harley Street operation – again claiming it was too dangerous for the NHS – the court was told.
Mrs Patmore took out a 6,200 loan, plus 300 cash from her bank account, accepting Rose's claim she would be repaid when her home was remortgaged.
Rose told long-time friend Michelle Willis she had only six months to live and needed a strong dose of radiotherapy – knowing her pal had money remaining from a recent house sale.
Mrs Willis gave her 5,000 and a few weeks later Rose asked for another 5,500 to avoid her home being repossessed. The friend convinced her own daughter, Sarah, to give Rose the money.
Eventually the school's headmaster, Noel Campbell, received confirmation from Rose's doctor at Mayday University hospital that she never had cancer.
'He said she did not, and never had, brain tumours, but suffered from tension-like headaches.'
Rose then resigned in February, 2010, telling the headmaster she had been given the cancer all-clear and was cured.
She has pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud, by falsely representing that she had a life-threatening illness, on various dates between September 30, 2008 and July 31, 2009.
The trial continues.