Published: 18:01, 11 February 2016
| Updated: 18:21, 11 February 2016
A callous woman cheated her boyfriend out of thousands of pounds after gaining his pity by claiming she had cancer, a court heard.
Charlotte Roche, in fact, planned to use £4,000 of the money to pay for cosmetic surgery, but did not actually do so.
Matthew Pilgrim stumped up cash on hearing she needed urgent surgery for ovarian cancer - but her story was one big lie.
The 31-year-old, formerly of Derby Road, Chatham, walked free with a six-month suspended jail sentence after admitting fraud by false representation.
She will also have to complete 80 hours unpaid work and repay the £14,220 she persuaded the victim to part with.
Roche met Mr Pilgrim on the dating website Plenty of Fish. They met for the first date near St Paul’s Cathedral in London in April 2014.
Prosecutor Allister Walker said Mr Pilgrim visited Roche at her home at weekends and she stayed with him in London.
“The relationship developed,” Mr Walker told Maidstone Crown Court. “He felt they were becoming quite close.”
She then told him she had financial problems with her Irish bank account.
“In hindsight, she was laying the ground for what was to come,” said Mr Walker.
She had previously told him she had cancer but he thought it had cleared up. She said she had ovarian cancer and was going to see a consultant.
Roche, who worked at a paper mill in Snodland, said surgery was needed to remove a growth on her ovaries or have them removed completely.
She said it would be a six-month wait on the NHS but only a couple of days if she went private. The cost was £6,800.
Mr Pilgrim was concerned and wanted to help her. She texted him about it a couple of times and he felt under pressure, so he agreed to lend her the money.
She only told him the operation was at a hospital in north London and did not take warmly to him visiting her there, said Mr Walker.
Afterwards, she asked him to pay for private prescriptions and post-operative care and he gave her a further £2,000.
Mr Pilgrim then did not see her for a while and it became clear the relationship was over. He asked her to repay the money.
“He felt he had been exploited - and, of course, he had,” said Mr Walker. “The excuses continued to flow.”
Roche’s sister eventually called him and told him he “had been had” and to call the police.
Roche, now living in Aberdeen, was arrested at work in October last year.
Judge Philip St John-Stevens told her: “It is clear, having developed the relationship with the individual concerned, you acted in a thoroughly dishonest, manipulative and callous way and preyed on his goodwill with an untruthful story about your health.
“As a result, you defrauded him to the tune of in excess of £14,000.”
The judge added there had to be a prison sentence but said he was persuaded it could be suspended.
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